As co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and CEO of Parley for the Oceans, the sea is at the heart of everything Kahi Pacarro does.
We talked to Kahi about his love of the ocean, his drive to protect it and why his work is so rewarding.
Hey Kahi, thank you for taking time out to talk to us! How has 2021 been for you so far?
2021 is just another year full of challenges that I look forward to taking on. It’s been great so far and I expect it to continue to be so.
Have you always loved the water? When did you first realise that our oceans needed protecting?
I have always loved the water. As a little kid I preferred a bath to a shower and now I’m an ocean addict that gets eggy if I don’t touch the salt water at least once a day. I started realising it needed protection when I began traveling and saw how badly our oceans were being treated globally.
Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is an amazing initiative. Did you feel like it was missing from your local community when you started the organisation?
We started SCH because, at that point, cleaning beaches was not seen as something that was fun or cool. We wanted to flip the narrative and make cleaning beaches something that you wanted to do, not something we needed to do.
Parley for the Oceans is also an incredible movement. You’ve had some massive brands get on board and takes the expression ‘stronger together’ to a whole new level. What’s it like to collaborate with so many creatives, scientists and businesses?
The partnerships we’ve formed are amazing, but it’s not always easy. The brands that we work with sacrifice profit to make the changes we require of our partners. But, in the end, that sacrifice pays off as the brands become leaders in their respective industries, leading to opportunities to garner more market share, influence and profit.
The collaborations we form are extremely fun and important. By coming together we recognise that we are not alone in this endeavour. The safe space to concrete solutions within the Parley ohana is ripe with innovations and ideas. I’m just honoured to be a part of it.
Here at The 2 Minute Foundation we know that beach cleaning isn’t just good for the planet, but for the mind, body and soul of the person cleaning up too. Do you notice the positive effects on the mental wellbeing of people who take part in your beach cleans?
100%. Cleaning beaches is a cathartic exercise that when done with people creates a community. The ehukai “sea spray” invigorates the microbiome and releases endorphins that awakens and makes you just feel good. So I say, I’m not a scientist. Ha!
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
The proudest moment of my career was the successful transition from SCH to Parley. When you create an NGO, you become that NGO. But if you become too ingrained and then leave the NGO will fail. Therefore, I worked my ass off to set it up and manage the transition so that SCH would not only survive, but thrive upon my departure from the helm. 2 years later and SCH is killing it! So is Parley. So that’s my proudest moment of my career.
Can you tell us about anything exciting you have lined up for 2021?
We just launched the world’s first Parley AIR Station (a communal hub for education, ocean immersion, up-cycling and collaboration) with many more to come. I’m excited to start broadcasting from the Parley AIR Station in Hawaii and inspiring behaviour changes that can have tangible effects on reducing the amount of trash ending up on our coastlines.
What can each person do as an individual to ensure they make a difference and help save our oceans?
First, get in them. Immerse yourself. Then share how rad that experience is and encourage others to do so too. They say you care for what you love. We need more people to fall in love with the oceans.
Once the love is there, what comes next is the learning, which never ends. Take what you learn and start taking action. You can start by simply stopping the use of so much damn plastic. I encourage people to start with the switch to a bamboo toothbrush so that the first thing you do in the morning after your morning wee isn’t shoving plastic in your mouth. Start your day off right.
Our #2minutesofpositivity campaign is all about taking 2 minutes every single day to do something that makes you happy. We think it makes all the difference. What small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face?
You guess. Yup, you’re right. I get in the ocean.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Clean beaches start at home.