Meet Louise Pacarro
Co-Founder, Flight Attendant, Mom and Multi-tasker
Growing up on O‘ahu, Louise Pacarro was infinitely curious about sea creatures and their habitats. During family outings at Waimānalo Beach, she would explore underwater worlds and often discover foreign objects covered in barnacles. She remembers thinking to herself that these things were out of place and wondering how they ended up in the ocean.
Louise’s affinity for the sea led her to take marine biology and environmental studies classes at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. When she wasn't learning about the ocean, she was usually out riding waves, and she even met her husband, Kahi, in the water. On a surfing trip around the world, the couple began to comprehend how widespread ocean plastic pollution had become. With the help of several ocean-loving friends and mentorship from the original Sustainable Coastlines team in New Zealand, the Pacarros started the nonprofit Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. Its crew uses creative, grassroots tactics to rally volunteers for day-long beach cleanup events that combine community service with music, food, and fun.
After the organization’s first event in 2010, Louise Pacarro and other crew members formed an education team to visit schools near the cleanup sites. Through show and tell, they continue to teach kids about how plastic in the ocean threatens marine life and encourage them to bring their parents to events to mālama (care for) the shore. The problem with plastic in the ocean, the kids learn, is that it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, called microplastic, after exposure to UV rays and wave motion. Fish, seabirds, and other sea creatures commonly mistake this microplastic for food or ingest it accidentally.
Over the years, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii has built up a huge volunteer base across the state, spearheaded successful ocean plastic recycling programs, and started a mobile education station to reach more people on O‘ahu. Their idea to inspire ocean stewardship has energized thousands of volunteers to pitch in for organized cleanups and host their own events. “We’re really lucky to have so many people who are passionate about protecting our oceans,” Louise says. “They bring the motivation, we just help provide the right tools for the job.”
When she's not out cleaning beaches, Louise is a flight attendant with Hawaiian Airlines, taking care of guests from around the world. With two young kids, she's grateful for the flexibility to service early Neighbor Island routes so she can spend afternoons at home with her family. Louise looks forward to time in the air with her Hawaiian Airlines family. "After having a 3-year old, it doesn't feel like work," she says. "It's like you're hanging out with friends, talking story, and taking care of people."
“I love being able to take my family over to help care for a lot of these special places that people don’t normally get to see,” Louise says. While serving as a flight attendant on short hops, you can often find her looking out aircraft windows for coastal areas that could use some aloha and recruiting coworkers to join upcoming beach cleanups.