Palau is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. It contains approximately 340 islands and has an area of just 180 square miles. The population is about 21,000. As with other Pacific island nations, rising sea level presents a major environmental threat. Illegal dynamite fishing, inadequate solid waste disposal facilities and extensive sand and coral dredging also threaten the health of the environment.
I bring up Palau in this column because the country is doing something very unique—something worth replicating around the world. Palau is the first nation on earth to change its immigration laws for the cause of environmental protection. Upon entry, visitors need to sign a passport pledge to act in an ecologically responsible way on the island, for the sake of Palau’s children and future generations of Palauans. The pledge reads as follows:
“Children of Palau, I take this pledge, as your guest, to preserve and protect your beautiful and unique island home. I vow to tread lightly, act kindly and explore mindfully. I shall not take what is not given. I shall not harm what does not harm me. The only footprints I shall leave are those that will wash away.”
Pledge Put Together by Children
Children from all over Palau participated in the drafting of the pledge. “It is our responsibility to show our guests how to respect our island home, just as it is their duty to uphold the signed pledge when visiting,” says Tommy Remengesau, President of the Republic of Palau.
Every tourist who takes the pledge needs to follow a set of guidelines or risk a fine. One guideline, for example: “Don’t collect marine life souvenirs.” Another guideline: “Don’t touch or step on coral.”
Palauans have also taken the pledge, from the president, the first pledgee, to traditional chiefs and residents. Education will play an important part in supporting the pledge as locals commit to protecting and celebrating the uniqueness of their sacred home. A new curriculum for primary and secondary school students and other programs will help build eco-awareness in tomorrow’s leaders and conscious business principles within the tourist sector.
What Palau is doing is a great example of what can be done not only in other countries but within companies and at individual properties as well. It has been proven that when people sign a pledge, they are more likely to embrace and follow green initiatives. Kudos to the people of Palau for sharing this best practice to the world.
GLN Adds Stern Engineering, Glass Recycled Surfaces as Directory Partners
Green Lodging News welcomes Stern Engineering and Glass Recycled Surfaces as Green Product & Service Directory partners. For Stern Engineering the ads are in two categories: Faucets/Electronic and Soap Dispensers/Electronic. Stern’s Touch-Free Electronic Faucets are operated by infrared sensor and automatically activate when users place their hands within the sensor range, providing cold or premixed water. The water efficient, touch free faucets automatically shut down after being used for more than 90 seconds. They combine minimalistic designs with high quality materials to ensure washrooms remain hygienic, safe, cost efficient and sustainable. Customizable functions with optional remote control are sensor range, security time, delay in, delay out, on-off and reset to factory settings.
Stern’s Touch-Free Electronic Soap Dispensers are operated by infrared sensor and automatically activate when users place their hands within the sensor range, providing a measured soap dosage while preventing cross contamination. If the user removes their hands from within sensor range before the full dosage is dispensed, the soap dispenser immediately deactivates, ending waste. Any non-proprietary liquid soap, at the recommended viscosity, can be used, saving money. Customizable functions with optional remote control are soap dosage, soap tank refill, temporary off and reset to factory settings. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Glass Recycled Surfaces, found in the Counter Tops/Recycled category, turns post-consumer glass bottles, industrial glass and recycled porcelain fixtures into counter tops. By mixing crushed glass with an epoxy resin, the company has created thousands of custom designs for residential, hotel and multifamily clients. With the Beach Collection, one can bring coastal elegance into a project by adding locally sourced sea shells and oyster shells to countertops. Glass Recycled Surfaces also produces Glass Mulch. It retains moisture and reduces evaporation rather than absorbing water like wood mulch. E-mail email@example.com or call (972) 865-4780 for more information.
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