Sustainable Cities

It is estimated that by 2050, more than 70 percent of the world's population will be living in a city. It's time for America's largest cities to adopt a sustainable and responsible vision for the future. 

Building the Cities of Tomorrow

Imagine cities that are healthy places to live, where our resources are used responsibly, where the environment is protected, and where citizens are actively engaged in their communities.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund is working to build these cities of tomorrow.

It's estimated that by 2050, more than 70 percent of the world’s population is estimated to be living in a city. More and more Americans are looking to cities to meet their needs in a way that’s sustainable, equitable and beneficial to the world. As more of us live and work in urban areas, we have the opportunity to make them leaders in sustainable development.

We envision cities:

  • With 21st century transportation options. For decades, cities have focused on moving cars, not people. It’s time to focus on getting people where they need to go by giving them more and better options to get around. These options include expanded public transit, better biking alternatives, walkable neighborhoods and high-performance intercity trains.
  • Powered by 100% clean and renewable energy. As the threat of climate change continues to grow, the best way to fight it is to keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition to 100% renewable energy. By encouraging big box stores to switch to solar power, promoting residential solar options, increasing the number of charging stations for electric vehicles, and raising energy efficiency standards for commercial and residential buildings we can easily meet this goal.
  • Where food systems are healthy, sustainable and locally-sourced. We all eat. But the choices we make with our food can help or hurt our communities and our environment. By sourcing food that is raised sustainably, responsibly and low in carbon, we can boost our local economies, move away from factory farming, and create healthier communities.
  • With clean water and responsible waste management. Communities across the country face risks from polluted water systems and waste. Aging pipes, sewage overflows and toxins that travel from roads to our water supply can harm our health and the environment. We need policymakers to make sure everyone has access to healthy water by creating strong policies to repair aging infrastructure and addressing toxins in our water supply. We can also make sure our waste is disposed of responsibly and reduce our waste whenever possible. 
  • Where citizens are involved in their government and their community. When we are active and engaged in our communities, we can push for more sustainable policies and hold elected leaders accountable. To ensure all citizens have the opportunity to participate in their community, cities should make voting as easy as possible, champion open access to government data and level the playing field for small donors.  

 

Issue updates

Blog Post

Patient Guide: Surprise medical billing protections you can use now | Patricia Kelmar

The No Surprises Act went into effect on January 1, 2022. This patient guide is an easy way to understand your new patient protections. Important phone numbers and links to the federal complaint form are included. Put an end to surprise medical bills by knowing your rights under this new consumer law. 

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Product Recalls: Often Too Little Too Late

2021 reminds us the system is broken. Federal laws favor corporations, not consumers, and it can take months or years for the public to be warned about dangerous products.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Why the CPSC can't do enough to protect consumers from dangerous products | Hannah Rhodes

Of the 23 deaths reported in connection with products recalled in 2021, 19 actually occurred in previous years. It can take months or years for the public to be warned about dangerous products because federal laws favor corporations, not consumers.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

How to spot counterfeit N95, KN95 masks before you buy them | Teresa Murray

You may be setting aside those cloth or surgical masks and shopping for some N95 masks or KN95s that are supposed to be widely available. But . . . there unfortunately are lots of counterfeit products out there too.
 

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report: President Biden’s first year in office marks progress on numerous environmental fronts

Following years of rollbacks, President Joe Biden began his term nearly a year ago amidst unprecedented environmental and public health challenges. Despite these obstacles, his administration has made significant strides toward restoring lost environmental protections and confronting daunting threats to our climate and public health, according to a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | US PIRG | Consumer Tips

STATEMENT: Consumer advocates call for timely refunds after airlines cancel more than 2,000 flights nationwide since Christmas Eve

Since Christmas Eve, airline companies canceled more than 2,000 U.S. flights, and even more flights were delayed, affecting tens of thousands of flyers. Worldwide, more than 8,000 flights have been canceled, and this may not be the last of it.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | US PIRG | Consumer Tips

STATEMENT: Listeria outbreaks highlight ‘unacceptable’ food safety requirements

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday the second of two listeria outbreak investigations linked to packaged salads this week.

> Keep Reading
News Release | US PIRG | Consumer Tips

STATEMENT: Procter & Gamble’s hair product recall is the eighth recall this year involving benzene and aerosol or pump sprays

Procter & Gamble Co’s voluntary recall of more than 30 aerosol hair care products is the eighth benzene-related spray product recall announced this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Result | Food

Researching How Tax Dollars Become Twinkies

U.S. PIRG research found that since 1995, $17 billion in agricultural subsidies have gone to corn syrup and other junk food ingredients. That’s enough to buy 2.8 billion Twinkies, and vastly more than has gone to apples and other fresh fruits and vegetables.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Product Recalls: Often Too Little Too Late

2021 reminds us the system is broken. Federal laws favor corporations, not consumers, and it can take months or years for the public to be warned about dangerous products.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Progress Report: President Biden’s First Year

Following years of rollbacks, President Joe Biden began his term nearly a year ago amidst unprecedented environmental and public health challenges. Despite these obstacles, his administration has made significant strides toward restoring lost environmental protections and confronting daunting threats to our climate and public health, according to a new report by Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund. 

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG

Surprise Medical Bill Protections - Patient Tips Guide

 

U.S. PIRG created this patient tips guide to help patients understand their rights under the No Surprises Act. Insured Americans can read or download this handy reference guide to learn and use their new rights going into effect on January 1, 2022. The tips explain which bills are illegal and what to do if you get one. It also includes the phone number for a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hotline that will be up and running on Jan. 1 to answer patients’ questions and take complaints about doctors and hospitals who might be on the wrong side of the law. 

> Keep Reading
Report | PIRG Education Fund & Environment America Research and Policy Center

Funding the Future of Superfund

The Superfund toxic waste cleanup program is in charge of cleaning up America's most dangerous toxic waste sites. But for years, it's been underfunded, which has slowed down cleanup and put more people at risk of exposure to hazardous waste. The Funding the Future of Superfund: Addressing decades of slowing toxic waste cleanup report addresses the progress of the Superfund program in 2021 and what new funding from the reinstated "polluter pays" tax will mean for the future of Superfund toxic waste cleanup.

> Keep Reading
Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Not First Class: Flyer complaints soar as airlines cancel flights, deny refunds, ruin plans

When the COVID-19 pandemic turned life upside down in early 2020 and commercial flights came to a near-halt, the U.S. government gave the airline industry $50 billion to save jobs and keep the industry afloat. Since then, despite surviving because of their customers’ tax dollars, the airlines repeatedly have canceled and delayed flights, denied refunds and failed at customer service, according to complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post

Patient Guide: Surprise medical billing protections you can use now | Patricia Kelmar

The No Surprises Act went into effect on January 1, 2022. This patient guide is an easy way to understand your new patient protections. Important phone numbers and links to the federal complaint form are included. Put an end to surprise medical bills by knowing your rights under this new consumer law. 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Why the CPSC can't do enough to protect consumers from dangerous products | Hannah Rhodes

Of the 23 deaths reported in connection with products recalled in 2021, 19 actually occurred in previous years. It can take months or years for the public to be warned about dangerous products because federal laws favor corporations, not consumers.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | COVID-19

How to spot counterfeit N95, KN95 masks before you buy them | Teresa Murray

You may be setting aside those cloth or surgical masks and shopping for some N95 masks or KN95s that are supposed to be widely available. But . . . there unfortunately are lots of counterfeit products out there too.
 

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Another winter during COVID-19: How to stay safe and sound | Isabel Brown

The holidays are over and winter is upon us again. The long and cold months ahead can feel like an eternity, especially during an ongoing pandemic. Here are some ways to keep your mind and body healthy as we head into a second COVID-19 winter.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post

After U.S. PIRG Education Fund report, Wells Fargo eliminates some student debit card fees

After U.S. PIRG Education Fund reported on problems in its debit card practices, Wells Fargo took steps to eliminate some "surprise" fees on student cards.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Of the 23 deaths reported in connection with products recalled in 2021, 19 actually occurred in previous years. It can take months or years for the public to be warned about dangerous products because federal laws favor corporations, not consumers.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

2021 reminds us the system is broken. Federal laws favor corporations, not consumers, and it can take months or years for the public to be warned about dangerous products.

Blog Post

The No Surprises Act went into effect on January 1, 2022. This patient guide is an easy way to understand your new patient protections. Important phone numbers and links to the federal complaint form are included. Put an end to surprise medical bills by knowing your rights under this new consumer law. 

Solid Waste

New federal bill calls for U.S. to move beyond plastic

On Feb. 11, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal introduced legislation that would phase out unnecessary single-use plastics, which commonly end up clogging our landfills and polluting our environment. It also provides funding for recycling and composting infrastructure, and would shift the financial burden of managing waste and recyclables from town and city governments to the manufacturers.

 
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