“Together we can change the world. Children and young people are not the future of the world, we are the present, and we will change the future of the world.” - Interview with previous winner José Adolfo
José Adolfo was only 13 years old when he won the Children’s Climate Prize in 2018. In his home country, he started an "eco-bank" and created a unique circular finance system for children and young people. Plastic and other materials that were littering nature became a separate form of currency that rewarded children with money in exchange for the material, which was then recycled. We interviewed José to find out what has happened since his win and what the future plans are for the eco-bank.
- How has the pandemic affected your work?
José: The pandemic hit us hard because we work with children and young people; due to the pandemic, we were unable to leave our homes for eight months, and even now, minors are limited to how much they get out.
Our financial system promotes "environmental savings". Our customers deliver solid waste to achieve their long-term savings targets or to manage economic emergencies, such as those caused in the world by the pandemic. Millions of households have been left without financial income, which has increased poverty. Hunger is more prevalent, children and young people now have to find jobs and leave their studies because they have to earn money for their families and households and they have no access to virtual education.
At present, interest and demand in the eco-bank from children, young people and even adults has increased since our project offers them an opportunity to solve their financial problems and because they trust us. Unfortunately, we are unable to contribute on as large a scale as we would like, with both national and international demand.
- What do you hope will happen now in terms of the economy and consumption?
José: The world economy today has serious problems, which are only worsening social and environmental problems. Consumption has generated an even greater usage of packaging for products, causing new pollutants. Materials in masks, gloves, face shields and so on contribute to more litter in our environment.
The eco-bank has transformed these problems into something positive that has a greater social and economic influence and less environmental impact on our society and our environment. Today, we have a virtual, inter-generational school for children, young people and adults in Peru and the Spanish-speaking world. It enables us to teach finance, technology, entrepreneurship and environmental and solidarity training.
We believe it is important to establish our eco-bank offices in more cities in Peru and in certain cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Because we contribute to reactivating family economies through “environmental savings” with solid waste. In this way, we can help to reduce hunger, reduce the risk of child labor and school drop outs and, above all, reduce environmental pollution from solid waste.
“Together we can change the world. Children and young people are not the future of the world, we are the present, and we will change the future of the world.”