Dust BowlApril 14, 1360: One storm brings nine years' respite from war: A freak lightning, wind and hail storm is blamed for the deaths of 1,000 soldiers in King Edward’s army as they advanced on Paris. The storm was seen as a sign from God, and King Edward broke off the campaign, beginning a nine-year pause in the Hundred Years' War between England and France.

April 14, 1935: "Black Sunday" rolls across the American Plains. At the height of the Dust Bowl, immense clouds blanketed towns from Mexico to the Dakotas, burying towns, destroying crops and choking residents (at right). The dust — largely a product of drought and bad farming practices — reaches East Coast cities and the Atlantic Ocean.

April 14, 1964: Rachel Carson, the government biologist turned author, dies of breast cancer at age 56. Her books, including "The Sea Around Us" and "Silent Spring," taught a generation about the wonders of our environment and the risks to it.

April 14, 2011: A compromise proposal between the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the Democrat-controlled Senate, and the White House to cut the federal budget takes a heavy toll on U.S. government environmental programs. The EPA faces a 16 percent budget slash, crippling the agency's ability to enforce clean water and other laws. Pro-energy efficiency programs are also slashed.

Photo: NASA

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