Camilo Jimenez: The Teen Behind Ecopuntos
Ecopuntos has reached over 10,000 people in the city of Bogota, and has gathered over 20,000 recycled materials—a great help in the care and protection of the environment.
But it is not just the environment that is benefited by the Ecopuntos program established by Camilo. Since its founding, Ecopuntos has partnered with 16 organizations that would resell the recycled materials they gather. From the time they first joined, each of the 16 organizations have financially benefited from the work being done through Ecopuntos.
Camilo’s personality and philanthropic work can be summarized into these four words: “Genius with a heart.” Who would have thought that exchanging movie tickets for recycled stuff would encourage people to recycle trash and turn it into something useful? This is what makes Camilo extraordinary. He possesses this uncanny ability to see something good even in something as bad as trash, and turn it into something that would benefit not just the environment, but the community in general as well.
Named One of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World
Due to Camilo’s amazing efforts in promoting environmental care and protection through Ecopuntos, he has become a recipient of a number of honors and awards, the most notable was being included in the list of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World by Youth Service America. Camilo is also a recipient of the British Council Award and was named as a Climate Champion of Latin America and the Caribbean—a true testament on just how much of an inspiration Camilo has been for his philanthropic work.
Probably one of the greatest traits that enabled Camilo to succeed in his philanthropic endeavor is his firm belief in sharing his passion with other people. Like many of us, Camilo had some apprehensions when he first started Ecopuntos, but he did not let these concerns get the better of him and make him quit. Camilo pushed forward, knowing and believing that deep down, every person has a desire to be able to serve his community; he just needs someone to lead him to do it. In a blog Camilo wrote, he said:
“Today, more than ever, I am completely sure that service power is enclosed in sharing your most prominent passions with others. When you share what you love the most, your heart immediately fills. When you share your passion you are filling everyone's heart, who will then broadcast your ambition. Service is a chain that connects the world around your joyful moments.”
What Our Five Fingers Stand For
As a well-known speaker, Camilo travels around the world, encouraging his audiences by telling them about the power they have in their hands to change the world. Camilo often uses the five fingers in our hands as a powerful reminder that we, no matter how small or insignificant we may look at ourselves, have the potential of becoming a world-changer if we take the time and find out the things that we love to do, the goals we want to reach, and the things that we should avoid.
Camilo describes in his blog how each of our fingers represent something in our life that would help us focus:
“Your thumb is the finger that reminds you your preferences. The index finger represents your main purpose in life. The middle finger reminds you of what makes you unhappy and what you should eliminate from your life. The ring finger points out what you love the most in life, in terms of both doing and being. Last but not least, the pinky finger—which seems small and insignificant compared to the rest—makes you realize those tiny but noteworthy first steps you need in order to accomplish what you want to do, what you would enjoy doing for the rest of your life and what you love unconditionally.”
Camilo Jimenez’s Early Biography
Camilo Jimenez was born in the city of Bogota, Colombia in 1990. Even at a young age, Camilo already started to exhibit traits of leadership and amazing intellect, something that his parents helped nurture throughout his childhood years. Even though Camilo came from an affluent family he grew up understanding the important things in life far earlier than most people would.
As early as five, Camilo started to take interest in nature and the environment. Through his parents, as well as several people he met growing up, Camilo also learned about the importance of serving one’s community. When he reached his early teens, Camilo started to join various environmental organizations and spent a good amount of his time in the work done by the organizations he joined.
Camilo’s experience in working with various organizations not only developed his desire to serve, but it also enhanced Camilo’s entrepreneurial skills. In 2006, while Camilo was only 16 years old, he already established his very first company called “OrangeTrades,” an electronic agency imports. The business became a success, and the following year, Camilo was appointed as adviser to the implementation of the “Rural Education at a Distance” program created by the Virtual Academy Century Education.
In 2008, Camilo entered the IDEAS4ALL.COM competition and became among the winners for his promotion of the idea of giving free virtual education to people in the poor areas. That same year, Camilo established his second company, the “Kingo Copy,” which operated under a system of ecological preservation by exchanging photocopies and recycling paper.
Since then, Camilo’s fame spread across the country. In 2009, Camilo, supported by the Colombian Ministry of the Environment and its partners, launched a national environmental education lecture. Included in this lecture was the promotion of a vehicle that utilized hydrogen as its fuel. In this event, Camilo was privileged to speak in front of a team of lecturers who came from 52 educational institutions and present his ideas for keeping the environment clean and green.
Camilo Jimenez’s Fruitful 2010
In 2010, Camilo was nominated to represent the country of Colombia at the 16th Convention of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (held in Cancun, Mexico), where he was able to meet leaders and representatives of the other 194 nations of the world.
Sometime during his teenage years, Camilo had a chance encounter with a young child named Esteban. During this encounter, Camilo was opened to the extraordinary power of dreams, faith, and positive thinking. He recalled his experience in a blog he wrote years later:
“I would never forget the sparkling eyes of Esteban, a seven–year–old child, that Saturday when I said, 'Esteban, did you know you can become anything you dream about?' He immediately raised his glance, smiled and answered: 'Then may I dream tonight of being a doctor? Because when I grow up I would like to help grandma and my ill neighbors.' Nearly in tears, I replied rapidly with a shaking voice, 'Sure Esteban, you can become a doctor if you want to. Dreams always come true.' I was bewildered about the power that service has to ignite the dreams, faith and positivity of the people we touch.”
Empowered by the things that he experienced in life and the people he met, as well as the desire to be part of preserving the environment, Camilo established Ecopuntos. The aim of the organization is to encourage people to recycle by offering them freebies in exchange for the recycled materials that they would give to Ecopuntos machines. In an interview, Camilo described the work done by his organization:
“ECOPUNTOS makes a game out of recycling. The stands will automatically detect the material and the quantity of elements recycled. In exchange for this activity people will receive cumulative credits and a measurement of how much CO2 had been reduced for recycling at ECOPUNTOS. Credits earned and environmental indicators achieved will be recorded through social networks.”
It did not take long for the Ecopuntos program to achieve fame and support from the public. Since its founding, the program has reached thousands of people, which proved to Camilo that everyone has a longing and desire to do something useful and productive for his or her society.
Today, Camilo runs four different non-profit organizations, a true testament to the leadership and managerial skills that he possesses. The Ecopuntos program is rapidly growing across the country, being supported and funded by private companies, which share Camilo’s dreams and goals of a better Colombia. Through his efforts, Camilo has proven that there is nothing impossible to a person who is willing to go out there, share his passions, and pursue what he believes in.
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- Kingo Copy
Awards and Achievements
- 2010: Won the Big Bang Challenge
- 2011: Won the British Council Award for being a Climate Champion of Latin America and the Carribean
- 2012: Included in the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World by Youth Service America