Columbus Park swimming holeJuly 24, 1935: Brutal temperatures cover the middle of America as the Dust Bowl reaches its peak. Chicago sets its all-time temperature record of 109 degrees. At right, people try to cool off at Columbus Park's swimming hole.

July 24, 1971: After a lucrative film career based on destroying Tokyo, Godzilla becomes an environmentalist and saves the city. "Godzilla Versus the Smog Monster" is released on this day. Hedorah is a smog/sludge/sulfur-spewing flying creature brought to earth by a meteor. But Godzilla rules.

July 24, 1980: The Global 2000 Report is delivered to U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The report projects future challenges posed by a growing world population and a threatened environment.

July 24, 2011:  A two week-long heatwave ends after sweeping through central and eastern North America.  At least 33 deaths are blamed on the heat in the U.S., with at least ten more in Canada.

Photo: National Park Service

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