Communication can be as vital to volcano safety as safety itself. The first hope was to use text messaging to send information to residents. Couldn’t happen. The federal authorities set aside millions of dollars of grant money to come up with a plan to implement a new operating system for the telephone. But when the time came to implement that plan on Hawaii island, it was the state’s Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which refused to follow orders, which shut down the system and devastated not only the thousands of people trying to put together an emergency plan but the dozens of emergency services workers in the state – the National Guard, the fire department, the police, even the city utilities department – in terms of their ability to communicate. That’s just one of the lessons shared by researchers, climate scientists, emergency management professionals and others at the invitation-only Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Conference in Honolulu. But the conference reflects an opportunity to realize the voices of Hawaii islanders.