Wiping Out Pollution, One Step At A Time

From the removal of styrofoam lunch trays at Kaiser to the enactment of a bill banning non-reef-safe sunscreens, the Kaiser Wipeout Crew’s impact on the community is undeniable. The WOC (Wipeout Crew) is also responsible for the creation of Kaiser’s Earth Fest and its community garden adjacent to C building. For its successes, the club recently received $800 from Youth Service Hawaii to create a product that would benefit the community, called “Be the Change.” During the production process, club advisor Paul Balazs said WOC members sat down and tried to answer questions such as, “How can we inspire, encourage, and teach educators, parents, families, neighborhoods, and anyone in the community how to get involved, and how to be
more engaged in some of these issues?”

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Wipeout Crew members work together to collect debris along the coastline.

For the Youth Service grant, the WOC decided to create a booklet detailing their goals and ways to help the environment through organizing community events, building a garden, or creating partnerships. “We thought that creating a book and [having] the visuals and the whole breakdown of how to do this properly…[would act] as a blueprint for others, [saying] you can have a club like this and you [can] create these solutions for…your own neighborhoods and your own communities,” Balazs said. The WOC plans on presenting these booklets to feeder schools in the area for teachers to use in their classrooms.

The club also created a short documentary titled “Be the Change, the Story of the Wipeout Crew” as part of the grant. The video alternates between candid shots of WOC activities and of
WIPING OUT POLLUTION, ONE STEP AT A TIME. Hawaii’s scenery, and also features commentary from club members and Balazs. Gearld Canaday IV, a senior member of the Media Communications Learning Center (MCLC) team and an occasional Wipeout crew volunteer, filmed and edited the video. To film the video, Canaday went to several WOC events: “[I tried to convey] the whole idea of this community together and making an impact on the environment,” said Canaday.

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Paul Balazs, Wipeout Crew’s club advisor, talks to prospective students on the ocean.

Now, the club has also garnered recognition abroad. #GenerationIB was created, in honor of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program’s
50th anniversary, for schools to showcase how students and teachers are enacting change in the community. Balazs included the hashtag to the WOC’s Instagram posts, not expecting to be recognized. He was pleasantly surprised when Pete Martin, IB Director of Social Media and Marketing in the Netherlands, chose the WOC to feature in #GenerationIB, and promoted the crew’s booklet and video on their social media. Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General on the Sustainable Development Goals, also reached out to the Wipeout Crew. “[They said] the solutions that Wipeout Crew is engaged in [are] exactly what needs to be happening globally, where everyone is engaged and everyone is involved themselves,” Balazs said. “It was really great to hear that perspective from someone who dedicates their life to global sustainable development for everyone.”

Tara Morisato / Associate & News Editor | Eui Jin Song / Associate & Editorials Editor

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