The Population BombApril 16, 1947: Two ships loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer caught fire and exploded at the dock in Texas City, Texas. The Grandcamp exploded early in the day, and hours later, the fire ignited the cargo of the High Flyer, docked nearby. News reports placed the death toll at 567 sailors, firemen, and local residents and workers, many of whom were killed by the second explosion after gathering dockside to watch the first fire.April 16, 1970: "Heeeere’s Doctor Paul Ehrlich!" The Stanford University professor makes the first of six appearances on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson." Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb" (at right), sparks global concern about overpopulation, and, on this night, puts him on the bill with singer Glen Campbell and mime Marcel Marceau. Who has no comment.

April 16, 2010: The Costa Rican Supreme Court gives the go-ahead to reopen the Crucitas project, an open-pit gold mine in a virgin forest area. Environmentalists say that Crucitas is an embarrassment to a nation that has cultivated a "green" image for decades.

April 16, 2011:   Tornadoes touch down in fifteen states during a three-day outbreak.   The Storm Prediction Center attributed 45 deaths to the storms, many of them in North Carolina.  SPC received 267 separate reports of tornadoes, some of which may have been duplicate reports on the same storms.

Photo: Amazon

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