Describes ongoing research on environmental risk perception and action in Brazil and Madagascar. Researchers have been investigating the relationship between the perception of environmental hazards (particularly deforestation), and the growth of ecological awareness and action, through field studies of sites that are differently exposed to environmental hazards. In Brazil it has been found that people of high risk areas have higher risk perception, and that television stimulates risk perception. The research is rooted in the belief that people will not act to preserve the environment if they perceive no threats to it. But risk perception does not guarantee action. Reducing environmental threats and conserving resources are appropriate goals. Still, environmental policy must be implemented in the short run and in communities. If traditional resources are removed, they must be replaced with satisfactory alternatives.