A still from Dec. 18, 1973: "Silkwood", the movie version of the life and death of nuclear worker Karen Silkwood, grosses $1.2 million on its opening weekend.  Meryl Streep stars as nuclear worker and union activist Karen Silkwood, who dies under mysterious circumstances while questioning worker safety.   In real life, Silkwood’s employer, Kerr-McGee, admits no wrongdoing but settles a lawsuit with Silkwood’s father for $1.3 million.

Dec. 18, 1999:  Two years and eight days after climbing up a redwood tree in a Northern California forest marked for logging, activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill climbs back down.

Dec. 18, 2009:  Director James Cameron releases "Avatar", an animated, 3-D film about a band of humans who set out to save the rainforest on the planet Pandora.   "Avatar" becomes an all-time box office smash.

Photo: ZUMA Press

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