Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway - Amory LockMay 25, 1803: Ralph Waldo Emerson is born in Boston. The lecturer and Unitarian minister's works include "Nature" in 1836. Emerson sells 500 copies of the book in six years, but later becomes a wildly popular lecturer.

May 25, 1900: U.S. President William McKinley signs the Lacey Act, one of the first sweeping wildlife protection laws. The act limits the interstate and international trafficking in fish, birds, mammals and plants.

May 25, 1971: After 13 years of lobbying and planning, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (at right, in 2005) project is launched. U.S. President Richard M. Nixon attends the groundbreaking ceremony. The "Tenn-Tom" is a 234-mile barge canal that gives Tennessee River shippers a shortcut to the Gulf of Mexico. The project is criticized as a major environmental and engineering boondoggle. Six of its locks are named to honor its major Congressional backers.

May 25, 2012:  A newspaper with two Pulitzer Prizes for environmental reporting announces dramatic changes.  The New Orleans Times-Picayune will shrink its printed edition to three days a week and make major staffing cuts.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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