Abuja | October 29, 2015
(as prepared for delivery)
All protocols observed.
However, I would like to acknowledge two people:
- Victor Fodeke for his leadership of the Humphrey alumni program network that is touching the next generation of Nigeria’s leaders.
- My wife Pam Schmoll, who has volunteered countless hours behind the scenes, working with the embassy’s “Green Team” to promote environmentalism.
We are proud to be a Green Embassy and a member of the League of U.S. Green Embassies around the world, and one of only a handful in Africa.
Here in Abuja, we consider ourselves to be at the forefront of U.S. ecological efforts. This building, opened in November 2014, is recognized as a “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) building, and recently achieved Gold status under the same rating system.
The solar array that helps to power our new Annex is one of the ten largest in any embassy in the world and saves us over $100,000 per year in electricity charges.
Our new construction also includes an underground water catchment system that funnels our rainwater to a storage tank and supplies our lawn sprinklers in the dry season. In addition, we have a system that recycles our waste water to help keep our green spaces green.
Another energy-saving technology is motion-sensor lighting. Our annex is one of very few buildings with such lighting in Abuja, but we hope it will be a model for others to follow throughout Nigeria.
We are hopeful that the Embassy’s use of eco-technologies will inspire and motivate Nigerian builders to adopt similar eco-friendly features.
Several members of our community belong to the Green Coalition and have volunteered their time towards worthwhile purposes, such as collecting plastic bottles for re-use in a construction project in Kaduna.
The Green Coalition’s impact has even touched the lives of internally displaced people from the Northeast who have benefitted from recycled newspaper and shredded paper as fuel for clean cook stoves.
Our eco-volunteers actively seek out new ways to introduce new practices that will hopefully become new customs for more a responsible use of resources.
The U.S. Embassy is very proud to be a part of the “It’s Our Turn to Lead” initiative since Earth Day last April. It is encouraging a climate-conscious population in the Federal Capital Territory.
We look forward to enhancing this partnership with the Humphrey Alumni Association through “The Green Ambassadors Legacy Project.” Over three years, alumni involved with this project have pledged to promote environmental awareness among youth with the ultimate goal of “greening” our cities.
Today, the U.S. Mission marks the debut of this initiative with a series of small grants that will help nine organizations to execute various projects in sustainable energy and green environment across the Capital district.
You all are doing very important work to clean up Abuja. We are grateful to be a part of that effort. Thank you.