The Problems of Yesterday, Today

     Montana, like the rest of the world, has its issues, environmental and otherwise. Montana’s environmental issues include toxic waste, soil, forests, water, air, climate change, biodiversity loss, and introduced pests. These issues are present in the whole country but are particularly noticeable in Montana. All of these issues, while they are current, are also seen through history. For example, toxic waste can be seen as an issue throughout recent history in Montana. Diamond points out that there has been a lot of mining in Montana. He continues to explain how this mining has caused issues in the toxic runoff. Despite the contrast in the types of present problems, they are all intertwined. Mining is a reason for toxic waste issues and also one cause for forest problems. Diamond explains that lumber was taken from the Bitterroot Valley in order to build houses for miners. This is only one way the issues are webbed together.  Despite the fact they have been present for years, proper steps have not been taken to address and correct the mistakes of the past. The issues Montana has faced for years are becoming more and more prevalent. As Montana’s population continues to rise, these issues will only continue to grow as well.

     Montana’s Bitterroot Valley is a great example of the problems Montana is facing as the valley is home to each of them. Fire partially caused by climate change has stripped much of the valley of its forests, trees have been cut for lumber, toxic waste is present from mining, apple orchards have exhausted soil nitrogen levels, years of irrigation along with common droughts affect water, and introduced wildlife are easily found in the valley. This opportunity to study so many problems in one geographic location is one of a kind.

2 thoughts on “The Problems of Yesterday, Today”

  1. Cinnone-

    I liked your blog post. I agree that although we have seen a lot of these environmental issues in the past, they are still present today. I said something similar to that in my post. I also like that you talked about how all of the issues that Montana faces are intertwined. This reminds me of the Tropic Cascade that we talked about in class. In the past, humans did not know the effect of what they were doing, but when we learned, we still did not put a stop to the troublesome behaviors. Why do you think that is? I find it interesting that you said that all of the issues are particularly noticeable in Montana. I am not sure I agree with that, I think there are other places throughout the world and even the country that are suffering from the same issues, but to a more extreme extent. Do you think Montana is the best example for all of these environmental issues or do you think there are other states that suffer just as much, or more, and make great explanatory examples as well?

  2. Hi Catherine,
    Sorry for the late reply to your comment.
    I believe one reason people did not put a stop to behaviors harmful to our environment simply because we are human. People often ignore the truth, especially when it means they have to change behaviors that have become “normal” for them.
    I definitely agree that these issues are noticeable in places apart from Montana and many are more extreme. I believe, in this case, Montana and particularly the Bitterroot Valley are excellent examples because of the proximity. To have so many opportunities for environmental study in one valley is very interesting. I believe there are many other places that would work well for a study like this, not just the Valley.
    I hope I answered your questions, I’m happy to answer more if I did not.

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