Problems, Humans, and the Future

Toxic wastes from mining, logging, forest fires, salinization, water quantity, biodiversity loss, and introduced pests are among the various environmental problems the Bitterroot Valley of Montana currently faces. Throughout “Under Montana’s Big Sky,” Diamond addressed human activity as the root of issues he mentioned. Even when discussing forest fires and salinization – both issues which occur naturally and have occurred naturally for centuries – it is apparent that these two issues have gotten worse due to human practices. So, in my opinion, these current issues are not historical in nature. Natural resources like minerals, wood, and water, have been drained at rates we as a society have never seen before, and management of these resources after they drain and deplete is getting more difficult with other correlating climate issues such as population growth resulting in overpopulation. I think that no matter what happens in decades to come, the Earth will still be here, turn, and adjust to the results of the Anthropocene period – but the current issues at hand are new to humans and nature, thus not historical in nature.


Although Bitterroot Valley, specifically, and Montana, in general, do not experience every world environmental issue at hand, I do believe that Diamond did a great job at relating the issues listed above to large-scale issues around the globe. Of course, due to variations of biomes and climate state to state and nation to nation, some of Montana’s pressing issues are not going to be like other states or nations pressing issues. However, the glacial melting in Glacier National Park, increased intensity of forest fires around the state due to global warming, older mines that have left years of toxic waste that is harmful to people and animals, and other problems Montana and Montanans face daily are so important as a model for understanding a cause and effect of things in nature, and they are important for leading a path to create sustainable solutions.

1 thought on “Problems, Humans, and the Future”

  1. The question could be asked, if there is no one to record history, does history actually exists. The obvious answer is yes, but it does bring into play, man’s part in history and the idea of history as a man-made construct. No matter how you look at it, I don’t believe man can be dismissed as a key factor in history. By that argument, that we play a critical role in the path history takes, as we have in the factors facing the Bitterroot, the challenges facing the area would certainly be historical. We may be just a slice of the overall history of the earth, but are still a part of that history, even if it is the small piece we construct ourselves.

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