It’s February 1969. Your parents are watching the news while you do your homework. When you look at the TV, you see a beach covered in sludge.
The camera zooms in on some seabirds sitting in the sand. Their feathers are coated in black stuff. Your dad sees 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 have come to the beach to clean up this mess and try to save the birds. You wonder if you could do anything to help.
Even back in the late 1800s, some Americans cared about the nation's natural resources. The conservation movement tried to protect the homes of wildlife. It helped create national parks. By the 1960s, people worried about newer threats to the environment. The news reported on oil spills and other disasters. More Americans began asking the government to clean up the air, water, and land.