‘Ike aku, ‘ike mai, kokua aku kokua mai; pela iho la ka nohana ‘ohana
(Recognize others, be recognized, help others, be helped; such is a family relationship)
Climate change and extreme weather from floods, wildfires and droughts is forcing people from their homes. Environmental migration has become one of the most challenging economic and humanitarian crises in recent years. It’s important to understand the magnitude of displacement. By 2060 another 1.4 billion people will have to move to escape our planet’s rising seas. The Aloha State is on the front line of this climate change, with coastal erosion washing away our beaches, cultural sites and homes. People from other Pacific and Polynesian Islands like the Marshall Islands are increasingly relocating to Hawaii. Hundreds on Kauai Island were displaced by flash floods. On Hawaii Island, a 7-month lava flow nearly cut off the town of Pahoa. After the 2017 Hurricanes affected Puerto Rico, 30% of 3 million people were displaced to the mainland U.S. To humanely address this crisis Hawaii is exploring ways to help newcomers, some who arrive with nothing and not speaking English. The lack of affordable housing and living wages, adds to the cultural tensions. For the police officer on Hawaii Island, this is his #1 issue on his responses to our Sustainability Survey. Brush up on your awareness of the environmental refugee crisis; volunteer with local organizations; be kind to one another; let’s learn to welcome others who, but the grace of God, go I.