Three Mile IslandFeb. 8, 1928: The Geneva Protocol enters into effect, banning the use of gases and infectious agents as weapons of war. The League of Nations ushers this treaty into effect following the horrific use of mustard gas in World War I. The U.S. does not ratify the Geneva Protocol until 1975.

Feb. 8, 1965:  In a “Special Message to Congress,” U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson sounds a prescient warning:  “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”

Feb. 8, 1978: Unit 2 at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania receives its operating permit. Thirteen months later, it suffers a partial meltdown.

Feb. 8, 1979: The New York State Department of Health expands its evacuation order for the Love Canal neighborhood in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Pregnant women and children under the age of 2 are ordered out of the neighborhood, built in the 1950s atop an old waste dump operated by the Hooker Chemical Company.

Feb. 8, 1983: El Niño-inspired drought and high winds bring a choking dust storm into Melbourne. It is estimated that 1,000 tons of topsoil were left in the streets of Australia's second largest city.

Photo: ZUMA Press

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