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

Having a Zero Waste Cookout | Alex Truelove

This blog post was guest written by Joshua Gregory

One thing that often gets overlooked at cookouts is the sheer amount of waste that these events create. By being conscious and taking a few extra steps when planning a cookout, we can all reduce the amount of waste we create, and in many ways, have better cookouts than before. Here’s how I did it, and how you can too:

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Shareholders push back against Microsoft’s backwards stance on repair | Nathan Proctor

As Microsoft joins the $2 trillion club, a shareholder group presses for Right to Repair 

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Blog Post

Burger King signals intention to move away from PFAS in packaging | Henry Hintermeister

Burger King customer service staff told concerned callers in June that the company plans to phase out PFAS in its packaging by the end of 2021.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Robocalls are declining but not gone yet, so remember these tips to protect yourself | Teresa Murray

With the new federal law that takes effect June 30, we should start seeing a decline in illegal robocalls. But the scams certainly won't halt overnight. Here are some tips to live by.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

Statement: Battle against robocalls enters new era June 30

 Starting Wednesday, Americans can expect to receive fewer annoying, illegal robocalls. That’s the deadline the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) imposed on most phone providers nationwide to install Caller ID verification to confirm whether calls on their network are actually coming from the number on display.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

130+ groups send letter to Whole Foods Market calling on company to put “Planet Over Plastic”

BOSTON -- Environment America Research & Policy Center, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and more than 130 additional groups from coast-to-coast mailed Whole Foods CEO John Mackey a letter Thursday calling on him to commit to concrete and verifiable steps that reduce the company’s plastic footprint.

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News Release | U.S.PIRG Education Fund

New report: Society undervalues family caregivers’ vital, increasingly important role

People caring for their aging parents, their loved ones with disabilities, or their children are doing some of the most important work there is. And yet many public policies undervalue the worth of caring for a loved one. As the largest population cohort in U.S. history -- the Baby Boomers -- ages, with a longer expected lifespan than ever, the need for caregivers will grow. Vital and Undervalued, a new report from U.S. PIRG Education Fund, shows how many people are either providing care for or receiving care from a loved one.

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News Release | US PIRG | Consumer Tips

Statement: Massive charity telemarketing scam shut down

 

The scheme fraudulently raised more than $110 million on behalf of sham charities supposedly representing causes such as homeless veterans and cancer patients.

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News Release | US PIRG

Statement: FDA plans to reduce toxic metal in baby food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Friday it will adopt a plan aimed at reducing toxic substances in food for babies and toddlers.

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A week's worth of help and tips during Consumer Protection Week

Being a consumer is a tough job. Really tough. During National Consumer Protection Week, which runs through March 6, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund staff is offering a daily dose of tips and advice to help you navigate life’s biggest consumer challenges.

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Report | U.S.PIRG Education Fund and Kids In Danger | Consumer Protection

Recalled Infant Sleepers

Every day, millions of kids are dropped off at child care facilities across the country by parents and caretakers who are looking forward to seeing them safe and sound at the end of the day. But new research found some dangerous recalled products are still in use at child care facilities across the country.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Highway Boondoggles 5

Highway Boondoggles 5 finds nine new budget-eating highway projects slated to cost a total of $25 billion that will harm communities and the environment, while likely failing to achieve meaningful transportation goals

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

Composting in America

America throws out immense amounts or trash, most of which is dumped into landfills or burned in trash incinerators. This is a costly system that damages the environment and harms our health. Luckily, communities across the country are turning toward a common-sense and beneficial solution: composting. Composting programs divert organic material – such as food scraps, leaves, branches, grass clippings and other biodegradable material – away from landfills and incinerators and turn it into a valuable product.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Volkswagen Settlement State Scorecard

Every state, with the exception of Florida, has now published its plan to spend the money being received as part of the Volkswagen emissions violations settlement. This scorecard grades each state’s plan on how well it is designed to take full advantage of the opportunity to invest in transportation electrification.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Blueprint For Tomorrow

Infrastructure is at the heart of America’s greatest challenges. The infrastructure investments made by generations past have contributed to improved health and welfare, and to the nation’s unparalleled economic prosperity. But the infrastructure decisions of the past have also cast a long shadow, leaving America to deal with the burden of lead water pipes that jeopardize our children’s health, fossil fuel pipelines that contribute to global warming, and transportation and solid waste infrastructure that no longer serve today’s needs.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Shopping for safe cosmetics shouldn’t be hard. That’s why we’re partnering with Clearya. | Gina Werdel

A free Chrome extension and mobile app created by a passionate couple helps customers easily find non-toxic consumer products as they shop online.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

With $1,400 payments on the way, here's what to do, and not do | Teresa Murray

85 percent of Americans are expected to get money -- without the need for you do anything, including clicking any email links, providing any information by phone or paying any fees.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Credit freezes FAQ: You can prevent a fraud nightmare in 20 minutes | Teresa Murray

Freezing your files protects you not just from someone fraudulently opening a credit card or applying for a loan in your name. It also can prevent someone from accessing your tax records with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or opening a Social Security account using your information or potentially launching a slew of other problems. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

How to freeze your credit files by phone or online | Teresa Murray

You have two primary options for freezing your credit files with the three major credit bureaus. You can do it by phone or online, whichever you’re more comfortable with.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

How to freeze your credit files by phone or online | Teresa Murray

You have two primary options for freezing your credit files with the three major credit bureaus. You can do it by phone or online, whichever you’re more comfortable with.

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Pages

Blog Post

Until recently, I did not have estate and end-of-life planning in mind, but it was the natural next step in my quest to be a responsible adult, with a nudge from the existential threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday evening that a nationwide Salmonella outbreak stems at least in part from whole onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico, and distributed in this country by ProSource Inc.

Blog Post

The EPA has banned chlorpyrifos from our food. It doesn’t belong where Americans golf either.

Blog Post

Advance directives are legal instructions that include a living will (different from a regular will) and a health care proxy. In them, you state what treatments you do or don’t want at the end of your life and who you want making health care decisions for you if you can’t. 

Blog Post

With the overwhelming number of reviews found both on website listings and social media, we pulled together the best tips to spot fake reviews when shopping online.

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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