The Palau Legacy Project

Nicolle Fagan , Palau

Nicolle cofounded The Palau Legacy Project to make tourism more sustainable to protect the natural wildlife and environment in Palau. Over 22,000 people have signed the Palau Pledge so far, and the online awareness campaign has reached more than 1.6 billion people around the world. Nicolle and her cofounders Jennifer Gibbons, Laura Clarke and Nanae Singeo noticed the destructive consequences of tourism on Palau's beaches and so they collaborated to form a campaign to protect Palau. They created the Palau Pledge, a declaration that all visitors to the country must now make upon entering, committing to principles of conscientious consumption and nondestructive behaviour. Part of this campaign includes an in-flight video that is shown on every flight that lands in Palau. Local school children helped to formulate the contents of the Pledge. With the support of the President and the First Lady, The Palau Legacy Project is rapidly gaining traction and changing how both visitors and local Palauans treat the island. The Palau Pledge has been supported by several influencers including actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, former US Secretary of State John Kerry, and conservationist Sylvia Earle. Despite being the third smallest country in the world by population, Palau now has the largest percentage of protected ocean in the world. Nicolle and her team are now working on Phase 2 of their project, which involves bringing conservation into the national curriculum and initiating an accreditation scheme for local businesses that comply with the principles of the Palau Pledge. Together with the Palau Conservation Society, The Palau Legacy Project team has taken over 100 science teachers on field trips to demonstrate the impact of destructive human activity on the local ecology. These trips have inspired teachers to be more practical and local in their approach to teaching science in the classroom, to further emphasise the importance of conserving the natural environment.