Over the last two decades, the Caribbean, in common with the rest of the world, has become increasingly aware of environmental issues. These have surfaced not only in the professional conscience, but in the political consciousness as the small island nations of the region struggle to throw off the label "developing", and improve the quality of life for their peoples. Small tropical island ecosystems tend to be extremely fragile, with limited resources. The effects of short-sighted unplanned development, some of them irreversible, do not require a very long time to become obvious. Awareness of issues and the problems accompanying them is, however, not enough. If nations are to be successful in arriving at the delicate balance between using and preserving the environment which is necessary for sustainable development, the population must be committed to this approach. Such commitment can only come with some knowledge and understanding of the processes and forces at work in the total environment, and a willingness to recognize man's responsibility to plan "in tune with nature".