The lava flows haven’t threatened Joshua, because he lives about 20 miles uphill from them—but he’s been affected in other ways.
Poison gas seeps out when magma escapes, so Joshua’s family bought gas masks to protect themselves. Joshua’s school has also been shaken by earthquakes. “I’m used to the ground rocking and rolling underneath me,” he says.
In the past few months, Joshua has watched the landscape change. Before May, Green Lake—a large lake located on the Big Island—was filled with water 200 feet deep. Now it’s filled with lava that is slowly hardening into rock. Lives have changed too: Many people have lost their homes, and businesses are suffering.
Although Joshua is saddened by the destruction, he also understands Hawaii’s history. “The damage a volcano can do is intense,” he says, “but it’s creating new land. None of us would be living in this beautiful place if it weren’t for volcanoes.”