John D. RockerfellerJuly 8, 1839: The first and greatest of the American oil barons is born in Richford, N.Y. John D. Rockefeller (ar right) built his Standard Oil empire during the Civil War, ruthlessly cornering the market on the production, shipping and sale of oil products from the western Pennsylvania oilfields. Today's Standard Oil descendants include ExxonMobil and Chevron-Texaco.

July 8, 1878: The USS Jeannette departs San Francisco on a voyage of exploration to the North Pole. Backed by the U.S. government and bankrolled by newspaper publisher James Gordon Bennett, the Jeannette gets trapped in the Arctic ice for 21 days before its ice-strengthened wood hull is crushed. Nineteen crewmembers died, while another 14 made a harrowing journey to safety in Siberia.

July 8, 2008: As economic ministers from the Group of Eight or G-8 nations meet in the town of Toyako, Japan, environmental organizations slam the meeting's "pathetic" response on climate change. The G-8 powers are responsible for roughly 62 percent of all 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.