Virgin Islands National ParkAug. 2, 1956: The Virgin Islands National Park (at right) is established, protecting the historic sites and forests of St. John Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The park was later expanded to include offshore areas with extensive coral reefs.

Aug. 2, 1978: The New York state Health Department declares a public emergency in the Love Canal neighborhood in the city of Niagara Falls. After alarmingly high levels of illness and birth defects are reported in the neighborhood, housewife Lois Gibbs and others lead the call to evacuate Love Canal, where a neighborhood and elementary school were built atop a toxic waste dump.

Aug. 2, 1987: "Our Common Future," a sweeping U.N. report on humanity’s environmental prospects, is released. Also known as the Brundtland Report in honor of its chairman, Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Haarlem Brundtland, the report is the first major look at sustainability — our ability to live within the limits of the Earth’s resources.

Photo: National Atlas

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.

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