Exploring The Carbon Footprint Of Moving Freight

In 2012, The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network partnered with the international transportation company, CSX, to sponsor the creation of Moving Freight: Economy and Atmosphere, a curriculum unit to educate school-age students that the train tracks they drive over and the trucks they pass on the highway everyday are connected to a world-wide web of industry, culture, commerce and environmental impact.

The curriculum is designed to provide four activities that build with increasing complexity—but also with the option as stand-alone modules—that meet curricular goals in mathematics, economics and science.  Students from grades 3-12 will compare and contrast the efficiency of freight transportation in ships, trains, trucks, and airplanes using real world examples and explore tools and resources on the internet.  Students will also discover the carbon cycle and the impacts of burning fossil fuels on the environment coupled with a comparison of calculated carbon footprints of freight transportation modes.

Additionally, CSX partners with many youth organizations including National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America), a national organization preparing future generations to meet the challenges of the science, business, and art of agriculture.  For agriculture education with the FFA and school programs across the nation, the Fund also developed an activity that investigates the carbon footprint of transporting the raw agricultural materials from farms to processing factories and finally to each student.  This activity demonstrates how raw goods comprise many of our everyday products and that the entire transportation element of these materials emit carbon dioxide which is a multiplier that reinforces the importance of efficient fuel consumption.

The Conservation Fund recognizes the shared values that CSX is striving to support with their National Gateway program through which they wish to educate states and communities to efficiently and economically create safer, less congested roadways, bolster environmental health, and promote economic growth.  The Conservation Fund works on the ground across the country to help its partners, like CSX, fulfill their conservation priorities through creative initiatives such as this in order to protect and enhance landscapes where Americans work, play, and rediscover history. Download Moving Freight: Economy and Atmosphere here.