It’s February 1969, and your parents are watching the news while you do your homework. You look at the TV and see a stretch of beach covered in sludge.
The camera zooms in on some seabirds sitting in the sand. Their feathers are covered in black stuff. Your dad notices you watching and explains there’s been a huge oil spill near a city on the California coast. The TV reporter is interviewing some people. They say they’ve come to the beach to clean up this mess and try to save the birds. You wonder if you could do anything to help.
Starting around the late 1800s, some Americans tried to take care of the nation’s natural resources. The conservation movement worked to protect places where wildlife lived. It also helped create national parks. By the 1960s, people were worried about newer threats to the environment. News reports told of oil spills and other disasters. More Americans began asking the government to clean up the air, water, and land.