Kahi Pacarro ’97
2017 Charles S. Judd Jr. ’38 Humanitarian Awardee
By Erin Teruya ’93 Kinney
Kahi Pacarro ’97 was invited to join a beach cleanup in Aotearoa and the experience left a lasting impression. Today, he is executive director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i, a nonprofit environmental group dedicated to caring for coastlines through fun, hands-on beach cleanups and educational outreach.
The cleanups that Sustainable Coastlines coordinates are not typical. Turnouts are huge, and the day usually ends with free meals, prizes for volunteers, live music, games and a heap of beach trash.
“Our beach cleanups are an experience, an opportunity to remove debris and recognize that the items we find are the same things we use in our everyday lives,” says Pacarro. “We then foster the connection that by reducing the use of those items, we can reduce our impact on our coastlines, or even coastlines thousands of miles away.” Recently, Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i began bringing the beach cleanup on land with a mobile classroom known as the Education Station. The “classroom” is a repurposed shipping container outfitted with educational displays and activities. More than 500 Punahou students visited the Education Station when it was parked on campus next to Pauahi Hall in April.
“If someone can’t make it to our cleanup, we still want to get that message across. The Education Station is on track to take our outreach from 300 students per year to 3,000 students per year,” says Pacarro.
The birth of Pacarro’s first child, daughter Zooxanthellae, reaffirmed his life’s work. “She is my reason to preserve and enhance our coastlines for all our progeny.”