As an introduction to the special issue on “Biocultural Restoration in Hawai‘i,” this manuscript provides background for term ‘biocultural restoration,’ and contextualizes it within the realms of scholarship and conservation. It explores two key themes related to the topic. First, “Earth as Island, Island as Earth,” scales up an island-borne concept of sustainability into a global context. Second, “Hawai‘i as a Biocultural Leader,” examines the reasons behind the global trend of looking to the most isolated landmass on the planet for solutions to global sustainability issues. We conclude by summarizing the content of the special issue and pointing out the historic nature of its publication. It is the largest collection to date of scientific papers authored by Native Hawaiians and kama‘aina (Hawai‘i-grown) scholars, and more than 50% of both lead and total authorship are women. This Special Issue, therefore, represents a big step forward for under-represented demographics in science. It also solidifies, as embodied in many of the papers in this Special Issue, indigenous methodologies that prioritize working relationships and practical applications by directly involving those on the front lines of biocultural conservation and restoration.