Mountains & Mines

The Bitterroot Valley in Southwestern Montana faces many environmental problems as much of the rest of the world does. One of the most pressing and overarching environmental problems that it faces is climate change. This issue is so powerful and reaching that it encompasses many of the problems mentioned in Jared Diamond’s “Under Montana’s Big Sky” such as increased fire activity, forest deterioration, and losses of biodiversity. However, the Bitterroot Valley also faces other problems such as rising population density, deteriorating air and water quality, and the introduction of invasive species. These problems have greatly been introduced and persisted over the past century. This means that they are rooted in history and events of the past. There is nothing we can do to change what has already been done, but there are steps that we can take to mitigate further issues and remediate the existing ones.

While the Bitterroot Valley can provide an excellent example of some environmental issues, such as increased fire frequency and intensity, I find it hard to apply the effects of all environmental issues found in the valley to the rest of the world. This is because the world has so many different ecosystems, each with its own structure and function, and each affected by environmental issues in a variety of ways. While I believe that it is worthwhile to study the many issues faced by the environment in the Bitterroot Valley and Montana as a whole, I do not believe that the results from these studies can or should be applied to the rest of the world in any kind of uniform manner.