Original photo: Wallowa Lake State Park
The issue: Following coal and mineral mining operations, substantial amounts of metal sulfide minerals are exposed, which oxidize and find their way into waterways. This then creates conditions that are uninhabitable for freshwater fish, degrades riparian ecosystems, affects drinking water for humans and other animals, etc.
For more information on the creative process: http://artbyparrish.com/blog/2013/4/25/creating-mountains-acid-trip-0
Special thanks to Levi Smith, who helped me with this project.