Team:TEC GenetiX CCM/Human Practices

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Human Practices is a pivotal aspect of our project, because Human Practices development began almost at the same point in which we devised the final version of our wet lab. This allowed us to envision the wet lab and Human Practices as one instead of separate entities, always thinking about how to make our biobrick have an important impact in the society around us. Therefore, our Human Practices work allows for a better understanding of the decisions taken in the laboratory, since we are not making a biobrick just for the iGem contest, but rather to expand upon it further even after the Jamboree is over and create a better environment for current and future generations. Deciding what to focus on in Human Practices wasn’t easy: there were many possible applications for our project, since it tackles the very important topic of plastics. Political, economic, environmental and health are just a few of the areas in which our project could cause an impact. This year we decided to focus on the economic, health and environmental issues by doing the following activities: a recycling and cleaning campaign, a business plan, a law proposal regarding regulation of toxins and a social media campaign to raise awareness regarding the topic of toxins in plastics, especially regarding plastic bottles. We also wanted to let people know about our project regardless of their age, social class or interests, since we believe this is a topic that concerns all of us as consumers of plastic products. To achieve this, we talked to people on the streets and asked them a few questions regarding how well informed they were about what made up the plastics they used and giving them a brief explanation about our project afterwards. Another important way to educate people about these issues was by going to middle schools and teaching them about biodegradable plastics, implications of toxins on their health and how to avoid them as much as possible. Last but not least, we wanted to get our school involved in the project and science in general, and therefore invited a doctor specialized in nanotechnology to get our fellow classmates interested in this fascinating branch of science. We also brought the famous Beakman to school. He did a show just like the ones on TV, and one of our Human Practices members, Daniel Raisman, acted as a real-time translator. This allowed us to connect with young kids and get them interested in science, and of course, this caught the attention of teenagers and young adults that grew up watching the show and were later interested in knowing what we were doing in the project. What we want to achieve with Human Practices is to show that science can be much more than working in a laboratory for hours on end. We want to teach people to appreciate science for what it is: a respectable, interesting and worthwhile activity that has the ability to improve everyone’s lives, even if it does so with small steps, one at a time. If you want to learn more about how our Human Practices project began, you can go to the following page: