Hurricane Lane narrowly missed making landfall in Hawaii in the last week of August, but the tropical cyclone still pummeled the Big Island with record levels of rain and high winds. It wasn’t the first extreme weather to hit the island this year: this past May, lava pouring out of its volcano, Kilauea, flowed into a residential subdivision called Leilani Estates. The flow eventually destroyed 36 structures and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.
Hawaii, one of the world’s the most isolated archipelagos, is no stranger to volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and high winds. But these photographs, taken on the Big Island last year, are not about disaster; rather, they depict a community of people before they received months of relentless bad news. Some of them are Hawaiian secessionists who claim independence from the US; some live in eco-villages in the forest. Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983, and people continue to build homes on the lava as it cools. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also sends climate scientists to Cape Kumukahi weekly, to sample air that has just traveled over the Pacific Ocean. It is, arguably, the cleanest air on earth.