Sometimes we think that talking to children about research and innovation is complicated as we believe they will need help understanding what we want to explain. But I have found that not only do they know research topics perfectly well, but they care about them. The future is in good hands. This week and last week, I had the good fortune to be able to attend the Angel Leon School in Colmenar Viejo, a town in Madrid (Spain), to explain the CircThread project to children aged 3, 5, and 9 years old on the occasion of the celebration of Women in Science.
I explained the CircThread project to the three and five-year-olds through a story. Through the story, I wanted to convey the importance of the circular economy and the critical repair process in the life cycle of appliances, the savings it entails, and the added environmental benefit. The example used to explain this was a hairdryer. For the children to remember the project and present it to their parents, they were given a drawing of a hairdryer with the project logo and the website.
Before explaining the project to the nine-year-olds, I told them about two women scientists I thought might interest them. One of them was Virginia Apgar (the creator of the Apgar Test, which is given to newborns to check that their health is adequate), and the other was Barbara McClintock (she discovered the process of transposing elements of the genome). I then explained the project to them and showed them the video presentation of CircThread. They were receptive throughout, and the questions they asked were critical. For example, when I told them about the Digital Product Passport that the EU is preparing, one of the children asked me how the EU was going to make sure that the information stored was correct and that companies were not going to cheat in the case of hazardous raw materials. This time, so that they could take the project home and share it with their families, they were given a leaflet in the form of a paper fortune teller with information about CircThread.
So these weeks, the CircThread project is closer to the citizens in Colmenar Viejo, Madrid, thanks to the children and their enthusiasm.