Environmental Challenges: The Environmental History Of Montana

1560 Words 7 Pages
The environmental history of Montana has been centered on economic boom and bust cycles, environmental degradation, and profiteering at the expense of Montana by avaricious robber barons. Every cycle has resulted in catastrophic and indelible consequences for the environment, ecosystems and people of Montana. For the most part, America’s unfettered and laissez faire corporate markets allowed for the commodification and exploitation of the environment. In addition, the limitations of Montana’s natural resources and environment was flagrantly ignored in the name of industrial progress and development. Many of America’s venture capitalists, politicians, and citizens viewed the Western environment as an unlimited of supply of lucrative resources in a veritable garden of Eden. According to Dobbs, “from the late 1800s through the first part of this century the so-called Mining City yielded about 13.25 billion pounds of copper, which was a third of the total used in the United States and sixth of the world supply.” (Pennies, 314) The copper industry was a paradigm for this line of thought by America, and for many the Anaconda hill contained a vast …show more content…
Assuredly, by pursuing this path many fur traders felt that the supply of furs would last more than a hundred years. But this was not the case. The populations of fur bearing animals were nearly eradicated, and the fur trade industry lasted for less than three decades. Consequently, the rise and fall of the fur trade market was the first major boom and bust cycle to ravage Montana, and the Northern Plains cultures. Montana’s citizens did not learn from the extermination of the native fauna of this region. Rather this cycle of dependency on natural resources would continue for more than a

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