Homes destroyed by Cyclone TracyDec. 23, 1972: An earthquake strikes Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, killing between 5,000 and 10,000. Relief funds from around the world disappear before reaching the stricken and homeless. Eight days later, baseball legend Roberto Clemente dies aboard an overloaded plane carrying relief supplies to Managua.

Dec. 23, 1974: Darwin, the capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, is leveled by Cyclone Tracy. So many homes are destroyed (some are seen at right) that Darwin’s post-storm population drops from 45,000 to 10,000.

Dec. 23, 1982: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms that the small community of Times Beach, Missouri is dangerously contaminated with dioxin. Roads in the community had been sprayed with dioxin-laced oil for several years in the 1970. EPA evacuates the town, buying out all its property owners for $32 million.

Dec. 23, 2010: The Obama Administration announced that it will reverse a seven year-old policy enacted by President George W. Bush which blocked new wilderness designations on millions of acres of Federal lands in the American West. The policy, derided by critics as the “No More Wilderness” decision, had put a stop to new protections on lands run by the Bureau of Land Management.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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

December 23
Cyclone Tracy nearly wipes Darwin, Australia off the map, and the Obama administrations reverses the so-called 'No More Wilderness' decision.