Julia “Butterfly” HillDec. 10, 1961:  An underground nuclear explosion near Carlsbad, New Mexico, dubbed Gnome, is hailed as a major step in the development of "peaceful nuclear energy." The next year, opposition from environmentalists and native groups halts Project Chariot, a plan to carve a new harbor with five nuclear explosions near Point Hope, Alaska.

Dec.10, 1986:  National Steel & Shipbuilding Company of San Diego completes work on the supertanker Exxon Valdez in San Diego.  Just over two years later, the Exxon Valdez runs aground after departing the oil port of Valdez, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound.

Dec. 10, 1997:  Activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill (at right, in 2006) climbs up a 180-foot redwood tree in an area marked for logging.   She comes down two years and eight days later.

Dec. 10, 2009:  ASARCO, the bankrupt mining and smelting conglomerate, agrees to pay $1.8 billion in cleanup costs at 80 toxic sites across the U.S.

Dec. 10, 2010:  A U.N. summit meeting on climate change ends in Cancun, Mexico, with more than 190 nations agreeing to establish a $30 billion dollar fund for industrialized nations to help poor nations curb the rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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