Project Trace Aims To Make It Easier To Be An Everyday Environmentalist

Project Trace Founder Kevin Berman. The startup participated in the most recent cohort of the Launch Chapel Hill accelerator.

With news about the impacts of climate change and other environmental challenges breaking every day, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, unsure of where to begin and what to do first to help.

To ease with the confusion, conflicting information and occasional guilt associated with becoming a better environmentalist, Kevin Berman created Project Trace, an interactive resource guide for learning about how a person’s everyday actions can impact the environment. The startup participated in the latest cohort of the Launch Chapel Hill accelerator.

“What I’m trying to create in the simplest form is a tool that will help you understand the importance of things you already are doing,” he said. “Meaning in context, which things actually have a bigger impact and which things might not.”

Berman said that this idea came to him after his own personal experiences, where he felt like he needed to be more environmentally conscious and was inspired to help others do the same.

Although still in the early stages of creating the resource guide, Berman did say that he has certain plans for how everything will work, the main thing being that it will focus on the positives.

When opening the platform, he said that the user will be prompted to answer a series of questions and in response, the guide will tell that user what they are doing that is helping the environment while also giving them tips on what they can do to improve, which he said he has not seen other guides do.

“We’re not trying to guilt people,” he said. “We’re trying to say ‘here’s some easy ways for you to improve.’”

Berman also said that he plans to introduce different tools to enhance the guide, such as by enabling consumers to easily write letters or emails to companies they think need to become more environmentally friendly. He said that his goal is to create formats so that users do not have to struggle with finding the name and address of the company, easing the process.

In addition to this, Berman said that he hopes to import users’ energy bills, driving data and shopping behaviors into the resource, so that they can see the impact that doing things like turning off lights, changing the thermostat at home or work, or speeding on the roads can have on the environment.

“I hope that there are these other ways that we can start gathering data easily, so you don’t constantly have to be answering questions,” he said. “But we are furthering your ability to find ways that fit within your lifestyle to be more environmentally conscious.”

Having had no prior experience in creating these resources, he said that this has allowed him to be able to look at this process from a consumer perspective.

Berman plans to use a points system so that users can understand that the more points they gain, the better the platform believes they are doing environmentally.

He also said that Project Trace is intended to be a free service but hopes to have partners who have shown a desire to change the environment work with him and help provide tips.

While Project Trace will be a for-profit business, Berman said that he’s not driven primarily by the desire to make money, but instead wants to be able to help people.

“I am definitely doing it for the cause and the wanting to do something that seems impactful when I talk about my career and what I did on this Earth,” he said.

With more work to be done before the guide starts doing its intended work, Berman said he is excited to get everything going.