Crystal Palace ParkAug. 18, 1902:  Margaret “Mardy” Murie, called the “Grandmother of the American conservation movement, is born in Seattle.  With her husband Olaus Murie, Mardy wrote and campaigned relentlessly for protection of vital areas in Alaska and the Rockies till her death at age 101.

Aug. 18, 1931: After three straight years of unusually dry weather, China suffers through a snowy winter, followed by relentless monsoon rains. The Yangtze River peaks on this date. Death toll estimates range from 1.5 million to 4 million. The catastrophe inspires talk of a massive flood-control dam in the Three Gorges region, which is constructed decades later and completed in 2006.

Aug. 18, 1986: Marc Reisner publishes the book "Cadillac Desert," a critically praised history of the political dealings and environmental consequences of the search for water in the arid American West. The book later becomes a PBS series.

Aug. 18, 2010: A U.K. government study says that predominantly white residential neighborhoods average 11 times more green space — parks, gardens, and playgrounds — than predominantly ethnic minority neighborhoods. At right, Crystal Palace Park in London.

Photo: Ewan-M/Flickr

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