Some of you have inquired if the recent volcano eruptions in Hawaii posed any threat to Max’s family or friends.
The short answer is “no”. Although we have some family and friends who live on the Big Island in the town of Volcano, that village is actually upslope of Kilauea and not threatened except for possible gas drifting into town if the wind blows just right, uh, wrong, uh, North.
The media has made much of the eruptions and not all the impressions are 100% accurate. To be sure, dozens have lost homes, many more have experienced damage and there’s no end in sight to eruption-related problems because those pesky volcanoes just refuse to be predictable.
But we’re not talking about an apocalyptic event. Sensation, rather than accuracy, seems to be fueling some of the news reports.
To establish perspective, keep in mind that the area affected by the movement of liquid rock is a small chunk of the Big Island’s 4,000 square miles and the folks impacted (mostly in Leilani Estates) are, in total, about 1% of the near 200,000 island residents. Of course the gasses and environmental impacts are more extensive.
Here is a great depiction of reality versus myth regarding the lava flows. I don’t remember where I got it from:
Most local folk accept that these events are simply the natural order. For Hawaiian people this is a manifestation of the volcano “goddess” Pele creating new land.
In ancient chants, Pele is called described as “She Who Shapes The Sacred Land.” To Hawaiians, Pele is all about creation, not destruction.
While the displacements caused by the flows are inconvenient at best and potentially deadly at worst, this is, after all, how Hawaii was created and how it continues to evolve.
Of course, economic and other factors have in recent years led to many more people building homes in areas that are susceptible to volcanic destruction. During TV interviews, many of the newcomers appear shocked and surprised that the eruptions began while locals and long term residents understand that this is the case of an inevitable cycle of nature coming to pass.
In other words, it’s sad for those who have suffered loss but them’s the breaks when you build on the side of an active volcano. Anyone who says “I never thought this could happen to my house” whilst standing on one of the world’s most active volcanoes runs the real risk of being called a babooze and that’s not a compliment.
Go ahead, Max, you can have your cookie now.