Looking Beyond the Big Sky

After reading Jared Diamond’s article “Under Montana’s Big Sky,” I realized that Montana is suffering from a lot of Environmental Issues that not everyone notices. If you look around the Bitterroot Valley, you see a beautiful sky and mountains all around, you don’t necessarily consider the problems that are hidden from view. The Bitterroot Valley and Montana, in general, are struggling with issues of toxic leftover minerals from mining, logging and burning of the forests, soil erosion and salinization, water quality and quantity, climate change, air quality, a loss of valuable native species, and the introduction of harmful species. I don’t think the issues are necessarily historical in nature, because currently, they are more relevant than ever. A lot of the problems have existed for a long time, whether humans were aware of the problems or not. These problems are not in the past, they may have started in the past but they are still very pertinent today.

Although there are other places that are in a far worse battle with a lot of the same environmental issues that Montana is faced with, I think that the Bitterroot Valley and Montana still provide an excellent way for humans to understand the environmental problems in the world. I think that Diamond did a great job of addressing problems that Montana may not suffer from as much as other places, in order to educate people about those global problems. For example, Diamond gave readers an explanation as to how wildfires were harming the environment, even though there are places like California, where wildfires are currently a bigger problem. Diamond allows any reader to gain knowledge on many environmental problems, while focusing on the ones that are most important to those of us who live in Montana.