Not all environmental circumstances are created equal.

The Bitterroot Valley faces many environmental challenges. These challenges were, and still are, primarily caused by irresponsibility and, in some cases, simple lack of environmental knowledge and consciousness. These challenges range from issues brought on by over logging, clear-cutting, and deforestation, to issues due to mining, toxic waste, and poor soil quality. Another one of the Bitterroot Valley’s most significant concerns is that of both water quantity as well as quality. While some of these problems, such as low water supply, are historical and specific to this region, the other previously mentioned issues are undoubtedly caused by human interference. This is mostly due to the fact that in the days following the Lewis and Clark expedition, white settlers came to the valley looking to prosper off its natural resources with minimal regard or thought for what environmental consequences their actions might bring the inhabitants of this area in the future.


Some aspects of world environmental problems are represented in those found in the Bitterroot Valley. However, I believe there are also lots of areas where discrepancy can be found. Many places around the world suffer from the same or very similar problems however the circumstances around which we may find these examples differ greatly. For example, there are lots of areas globally where water quantity and quality are an issue; however many, not all, of these examples occur in areas of high and very dense population. The water crises in southwest Montana is unique because a majority of this chemically tainted water goes towards irrigating farmland rather than solely for drinking purposes “[and toxic chemicals] are bad news when they get into groundwater, rivers and soil.” (Diamond,p. 36) This brings on a whole host of other problems specific to farming communities like the Bitterroot Valley because the aforementioned chemicals are then released into the ground causing a chain reaction of other environmental issues.

2 thoughts on “Not all environmental circumstances are created equal.”

  1. I definitely agree about how most environmental challenges come into existence. By the irresponsibility of the human race. I also enjoyed that you talked about water quantity instead of just water quality, because to me, that seems to be a larger issue in the Bitterroot valley. The valley gets little rainfall, yet there are not a lot of mines in and around the valley to leach toxic waste into the valley (agriculture though can cause fertilizer to become a contaminant). So, I like that you seem to focus on the quantity aspect. In the second paragraph, I thought all of your points were well-thought out, I also thought that the question of deforestation should have been raised here as it relates to filtering contaminants out of the water supply.

  2. It is sad how much the farmers are forgotten even in modern times. It was disturbing to find out that the litigation against the miners went nowhere. The farms and land were left holding the waste. At least the mine put in some sink pits, showing that they knew they were causing harm, but it still seems like the very least they could do.

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