Two curricula centered around data from the Toxic Release Inventory are now available. One is a youth curriculum developed by FrontRange Earth Force and EPA Region 8; while the other is developed for MBAs. Both of these projects may be familiar to people who have attended recent TRI National Training Conferences.
The youth curriculum aims to educate students on how to use the online database TRI Explorer. The curriculum introduces industrial toxic waste and exposure risks to students, before familiarizing them with the TRI program through a case study of Suncor, a Denver-based energy company. In addition to educating students and community members on how to access TRI data from TRI Explorer, the curriculum developers hope such data can be used to track information for EPA CARE community grants and to develop toxic release projects under the Community Action and Problem Solving process.
John Byrd of the University of Colorado developed a curriculum for MBA students with the objective of introducing students to the Toxic Release Database and related TRI data sources, as well as showcasing business uses for TRI data, such as financial analysis. The curriculum is centered on a fictional case study in which the objective is to develop an environmental risk measure based on TRI data. Students face the challenges of working with large data sets, weighing absolute versus intensity measures, and adding toxicity and exposure data when developing environmental risk measures.
The feedback consensus from John Byrd and his students was that data in the Toxics Release Database needs to be supplemented with additional data if it is to be an effective tool for MBAs as they felt that the data is difficult to aggregate by company.