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 | COVID-19, Higher Ed

COVID-19 college reopening scorecard | Zack Szlezinger

Colleges all over the country have decided to open their doors to students, but reopening remains unsafe in nearly all states.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Which retailers require customers to wear face masks? | Grace Brombach

Only four out of 20 major chain stores studied still allow customers to shop without face coverings

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News Release | U.S.PIRG | Financial Reform

CFPB Director: Stop Letting Industry Violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act

We've joined the National Consumer Law Center in a news release describing a letter from 21 consumer and faith groups urging her to revoke permission to the credit reporting industry to violate consumer protections. 

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

FTC settles first case against VoIP provider for allowing illegal robocalls

This FTC settlement must be a wake-up call to phone service providers so they do more to protect consumers. If not, the FTC must be vigilant in going after companies that enable the immoral practice of preying on consumers. And the FCC should require providers to block spoofed calls that we all know are scams.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

U.S. Supreme Court rules Consumer Financial Protection Bureau structure unconstitutional

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the separation-of-powers principle embedded in the Constitution prohibits Congress from giving the director of the CFPB protection from being removed for cause. This part of the decision in Seila Law LLC v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was 5-4.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Denial of auto loan relief leads to spike in consumer complaints

An analysis of consumer complaints published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shows that as millions of Americans remain out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, complaints about problems in obtaining auto loan relief are skyrocketing.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Weds. panel discussion: Two major reasons consumers don’t get a fair price or effective prescription drugs

U.S. PIRG Education Fund is co-sponsoring a free Zoom panel in which panelists will discuss two ways consumers and patients are harmed by drug industry price manipulation and lack of competitive restraints: step therapy and rebate walls.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research and Policy Center

EPA decision to undercut mercury pollution standards puts our health at risk

After months of protest, even from members of the industries the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) keeps in check, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an action that defangs the regulations.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Solid Waste

What are Coloradans Fixing?

Something breaks, or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.

According to a review of data from iFixit, a self-described “repair guide for everything, written by everyone.” 1.2 million unique users from Colorado went onto their website www.ifixit.com to look up how to repair something in 2018.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Consumers for Auto Reliability And Safety (CARS) Foundation | Consumer Protection

Unsafe used cars for sale

AutoNation, which bills itself as “America’s Largest Auto Retailer,” is selling recalled used vehicles that contain dangerous safety defects. In a survey of over 2,400 used vehicles for sale at 28 AutoNation locations, 1 in 9 were found to have unrepaired safety recalls.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Electric Buses in America

New report profiles six case studies of early electric bus adopters across the nation. By understanding common pitfalls and best practices, cities, agencies and school districts can ensure a smoother roll-out of electric buses, helping reduce climate pollution and protect public health.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center | Public Health

Get the Lead Out Back to School Toolkit

This toolkit includes a factsheet, video, sample call-to-action materials and links to additional resources to help parents, teachers and administrators take all the necessary steps to get the lead out.

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Blog Post | COVID-19, Higher Ed

Fall Update: Meeting Student Basic Needs During COVID-19 | Zack Szlezinger

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting campuses nationwide. Here are a few of the ways that institutions are stepping up to meet students’ basic needs during the new term

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Blog Post

The Right to Repair could help address a critical shortage in school computers | Nathan Proctor

Buying a refurbished computer can save money and cut waste. It might also be a key strategy in addressing the digital divide

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Purell is shipping to stores again; FDA steps up crackdown on methanol in sanitizer | Teresa Murray

Shortage of active ingredients for sanitizer could be linked to use of toxic ingredients

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Blog Post

Peaches recalled in 35 states after 68 people contract Salmonella | Teresa Murray

ALDI and Target are removing bagged, loose Wawona peaches in 20 states

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a National Recycling Strategy draft for public comment through Dec. 4, 2020. The goal is to finalize the strategy by early 2021. The draft aims to identify clear objectives and actions needed to build a stronger, more resilient U.S. municipal solid waste recycling system. The document is organized around three objectives: 1) reduce contamination, 2) increase processing efficiency, and 3) improve markets.

Blog Post

Thoughts on the EPA’s National Recycling Strategy

Blog Post

Whether you have a loved one currently in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, or whether you’re shopping for one, you should arm yourself with a list of questions to gauge how safe the environment is. Here’s a guide to those questions, and the answers you should expect.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

 On Jan. 20, 2021, the United States will have a new president, helping to turn the page on a brutal year of disease and disruption. While stark political divisions will undoubtedly remain, a new report from U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Environment America Research & Policy Center, and Frontier Group lays out a vision to bridge political divides through infrastructure investment, seizing a critical opportunity to emerge as a stronger nation after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Americans agree: Our nation’s infrastructure needs work. This report provides the blueprint that should form the basis of an infrastructure plan that will make America stronger today and lay the foundation for a brighter future. 

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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U.S. PIRG Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.