Al GoreMarch 31, 1948: Albert Gore, Jr.  (at right) is born in Washington, D.C. As Al Gore, Sr. advances to a long career in the U.S. Senate, his son graduates from Harvard, serves in Vietnam, and in 1977 begins his own Congressional career. Gore chairs crucial Senate hearings on climate change in 1988, and is elected Vice President in 1992. He becomes a Nobel Laureate and crusader for climate change action and a lightning rod for criticism of same.

March 31, 1963:  According to William Souder’s biography of Rachel Carson, "On a Farther Shore," Carson’s "Silent Spring" received a less-than-helpful endorsement from a British peer.  Lord Edward Shackleton told his peers that rampant DDT use in the United States had prompted cannibals to switch from eating Americans to eating Englishmen.

March 31, 1970: Canadian folksinger Joni Mitchell releases her song "Big Yellow Taxi," which decries abuse of the environment. "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

March 31, 2010: Declaring that "oil rigs today generally don't cause spills," U.S. President Barack Obama opens up 167 million acres of ocean off the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Alaskan Arctic coastlines to offshore oil and gas exploration. Three weeks later, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig causes the biggest spill in U.S. history.

Photo: ZUMA Press

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