Climate Refugees

‘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, droughts and hurricanes 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 1.4 billion people will have to move to escape our planet’s rising seas, according to a recent study by Cornell University. The Aloha State is on the front lines of this climate change, with coastal erosion washing away our beaches, cultural sites and homes.

The State of Hawaiʻi recently published a report warning that rising sea levels could cause $19 billion in property damages and force 20,000 people from their homes. More than 500 homes were damaged or destroyed in recent rains and floods on Oahu and Kauaʻi. The State report emphasizes the importance of developing and utilizing sustainable and resilient land and community development practices. Check out our resources to learn more about climate refugees and help out where you can. It’s going to take all of us working together to turn the tide on climate change.


Hawaii Island

Environmental Disaster Preparation

A’ohe hana nui ka alu’ia

(No task is too big when done together)

Hawaiʻi is an island chain with more than 1,000 miles of coastline, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This isolation, combined with our active volcanoes, towering mountains, treacherous valleys and gulches, rushing rivers and torrential rain, makes us vulnerable to environmental disasters. Earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions are common occurrences. On Hawaiʻi Island, Kilauea volcano’s ongoing eruptions have displaced thousands of people. These eruptions and environmental disasters can be devastating to our communities. It’s important each of us is prepared. Fortunately, Hawaiʻi has many government and community resources at the ready. Check out their resources. 

Go to a Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency workshop. Most importantly, make a disaster readiness plan and kit with at least three days worth of supplies for you and your ohana.


Hawaii Island