It’s February 1969, and you’re doing your homework while your parents are watching the news. When you look at the TV, you see a stretch of coastline covered in sludge.
The camera zooms in on some seabirds sitting in the sand, their feathers coated with 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.
As early as the late 1800s, some Americans wanted to take care of the nation’s natural resources. The conservation movement helped create national parks and protect places for wildlife to live. By the 1960s, people had new concerns about the environment. News reports told of oil spills and other disasters, and more Americans began pushing the government to clean up the air, water, and land.