peregrine falconAug. 25, 1859: Edwin Drake drills the first successful oil well near Titusville, Pa. Two days later, Drake hits a gusher, taking the first step toward one of the most dramatic changes in human history.

Aug. 25, 1999: After nearly three decades of protection on the U.S. Endangered Species List, the peregrine falcon (at right) is de-listed. Its recovery is attributed to the ban on the pesticide DDT in 1972.

Aug. 25, 2005: Hurricane Katrina makes its first landfall as a Category 1 storm in South Florida. Katrina kills at least six in the state before crossing into the Gulf of Mexico and taking aim at New Orleans.

Aug. 25, 2011: Just days after over 100 demonstrators are arrested in front of the White House, the U.S. State Department endorses the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry “tar sands” oil from Alberta to refineries in Texas. Critics say tar sands oil are an environmental nightmare, chewing up Canada’s boreal forests and threatening one of the world’s largest freshwater supplies.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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