Blue whaleAug. 31, 1966: The International Whaling Commission (IWC) begins its annual meeting in London, where the group bans commercial hunting for blue whales (at right), the largest and one of the most endangered whale species.

Aug. 31, 1988: Standing on the shores of Lake Erie, presidential candidate and current Vice President George H.W. Bush pledges to be “the environmental president.” Bush trounces Democrat Michael Dukakis in the November election. During his single term, he keeps a campaign promise to strengthen the Clean Air Act and moderates some of the anti-environmental policies of the Reagan administration but finds little support from environmentalists.

Aug. 31, 1990: Clark Atlanta University professor Robert Bullard publishes "Dumping in Dixie." The book is a study in the disproportionate amount of pollution visited upon poor and minority communities in the American South. Bullard is credited with coining the phrase “environmental racism” in 1982.

Aug. 31, 2011:  The California solar manufacturer Solyndra collapses at the cost of 1,000 jobs and nearly a half billion in US taxpayer subsidies.   Solyndra’s failure becomes a major point of attack against the Obama Administration and its promotion of “green” jobs.

Photo: NOAA

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