Rob Reynolds recalls the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969, how business leaders were more coarse at that time, and how reaction to the spill fed a fledgling American environmental movement. "Along with growing evidence of ecological destruction and species extinction, the spill, says Santa Barbara University life sciences professor Josh Schimel, was a tipping point. 'It was a little bit like throwing mud on the Mona Lisa,' he said. 'It was a big kick in the head that really got people to wake up.'" By the following year, the first Earth Day was observed by hundreds of thousands of Americans, and politicians, including Richard Nixon, the then president, took note of the movement's growing power."