Greening up the US embassyThe US government held a tree planting ceremony at the new embassy compound with Chargé d’Affaires Jessica Long on Thursday.
Government officials, members from the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), and other civil society interlocutors attended the event.
The tree planting ceremony is a tradition in construction to celebrate the milestone of reintroducing the natural environment to the built environment. “We consulted with the National Botanical Research Institute to ensure that we are planting native species that will not rely on an irrigation system but will instead be hand-watered to conserve water. We are planting in such a way to prevent erosion and take advantage of rainfall. Our plants will feature Namibia’s camel thorn tree, one of the oldest trees in Namibia,” Long said.
Approximately 5 000 plants are being reintroduced to the compound, almost 300 of which are trees. The plants represent 33 different species in Namibia.
The US government has invested in more than just natural fauna for this construction project, citing the construction company’s safe labour practices and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
More than 2 000 Namibians are employed in the construction project, 100 of which are women. The building is being constructed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards and sustainable practices, with 97% of the waste from the project being recycled. B.L. Harbert International, the company responsible for the construction, has offered financial training to all its workers. They also held a lunch donation project, providing over 350 000 meals to school-age children.
The embassy said that in total, the US government has invested approximately U$17 million (approximately N$310 million) into the local economy with the construction of this new compound. As highlighted by Long, “let the planting of these trees today be a symbol of our partnership with Namibia, deeply rooted, enduring, and fruitful”.