It was standing room only by the time the film got rolling on Earth Day last Wednesday night for the premier screening of “Return to Paradise” at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center in Koror, Palau. The President, ministers, governors, women’s network members, families, tourists and other members of the Palauan community packed the house in anticipation for the unveiling of the movie.
The Earth Day Committee planned a lively program featuring a local dance troop “Capt Malii Stars”, awards for winners of an essay contest, and remarks by President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.
“Let me thank the National Geographic Society and its Pristine Seas project for such an exceptional film. It showcases Palau’s cultural identity and the value of safeguarding Palau’s assets which are its People, Culture and its Ocean. ”
From the depths to the shallows, the film showcased beautiful footage of Palau’s majestic underwater world. More importantly, it told the human story – the strength of the Palauan culture and lessons learned from their long history of a symbiotic relationship with nature. One of the traditions highlighted in the film was the practice of ‘bul’ – Palau’s ancient way of declaring a moratorium on fishing to give fish stocks the opportunity to replenish.
When the film concluded and the credits rolled, the energy in the room was electric and there was a renewed sense of pride. Due to high demand for additional screenings of the film, it will be shown to local schools and broadcast on local networks in the coming weeks for all of Palau to see.
The Pristine Seas team would like to send special thanks to the entire Earth Day Committee, especially: Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB), the Palau Visitors Authority (PVA), the Office of the President of Palau, the Palau Conservation Society (PCS) and the Civic Action Team 84-03 for all of their support during Earth Week events.