Biologist Liliana Jaramillo says growing plants on so-called green roofs can help reduce the threat of flash floods by absorbing excess rain. And, they can improve air quality in the rapidly growing city. So Jaramillo wants to expand the number of green roofs in Quito. But to be successful, the plants also need to survive Quito’s dry season, which is growing longer. So Jaramillo is experimenting with native plants that are adapted to Quito’s climate extremes.
Jaramillo was awarded UN Environment’s 2017 Young Champion of the Earth prize for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The government of Ecuador is also incentivising the use of native plants in sustainable building projects, by supporting initiatives like Jaramillo’s to help build a more resilient city. But there is still ways to go before native plants and greenery are available in shops and across sun decks and Quito’s rooftops.
Watch this short video about Liliana Jaramillo efforts in Ecuador: