In this extended abstract I will survey through personal experience some of the unique events that encompassed the region over the past five decades and see what lessons can be drawn from them. I cover a lot of ground, and citations are included as entry points to the scientific literature. I concentrate on the Wider Caribbean as I know it best, but the general trajectory of change and potential management approaches which I discuss are the same for the Eastern Tropical Pacific.In my lifetime, the population of the world has increased more than three times from 2.3 billion, and it has more than doubled from 3.7 to 7.6 billion in the 50 year interval covered by this talk. There is no question that human population growth, the drive for economic growth, and the disproportionate use of the worlds resources by industrialized nations are the primary drivers of environmental decline. The control of these influences will be a major part of whatever future solutions may be possible.