Knowledge is Power
PEIR, the Personal Environmental Impact Report, is a piece of software that uses the geographical data fed into it by your GPS-enabled phone to create a report that tells you how you impact the environment (kind of like a next-generation carbon calculator), but also how the environment impacts you (your exposure to air pollution, for example). It can help you look at your everyday routine in a whole different way and help you make better decisions, both for the planet and for you.
Read on for more details.
Four Things to Watch
Right now PEIR gives you reports about 4 things: Your carbon impact, your particulate matter (PM) exposure, your fast food exposure (how many restaurants in your immediate surroundings), and sensitive sites impact (air pollution close to schools and hospitals).
How Does PEIR Work?
They have a very well-made video that explains the concept here:
Basically, the goal is to give you feedback - to make the invisible visible - in the hope that this will affect your behavior for the better ("Can I reduce my carbon emissions by using a different route?" or "I'll take my morning jog somewhere else because there's way too much smog in that area"). It's a bit similar to how drivers of hybrid cars that have big LCDs screens showing real-time and historical data on fuel economy learn which behaviors lead to which results.
And the elegant things about PEIR is that they don't have to gather all this data themselves. There is already a ton of government repots on air quality, for example. All that PEIR needs to do is to create a personalized report by combining that data to the cellphone's GPS data.