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

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Burger King commits to eliminating toxic “forever chemicals” in food packaging globally

Restaurant Brands International (RBI), parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes, announced Wednesday evening a new global commitment to eliminate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging used in its restaurants by 2025.

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Blog Post

Big Pharma claims clinical trial costs are the reason for sky-high drug prices without any proof | Patricia Kelmar

Greater transparency of clinical trial costs will quantify the amount of public taxpayer dollars invested in new drug innovation. One main reason drug companies say drug prices are so high is because of the high cost of innovation. But who's really footing the bill of drug research in the U.S.?

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Tips to protect yourself against cyberattacks from Russia (or anywhere else) | Teresa Murray

The new threat of cyberattacks may have you wondering what you can do to protect yourself. It’s a great time to remind you about best practices you should already be following.

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Blog Post

Change in the air: a hope of normalcy and less violence on airplanes | Jacob van Cleef

Violence has become such a problem that a federal no-fly list has been proposed, so unruly passengers could no longer fly.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

Statement: Gas stoves are even worse for health, climate than previously thought

Adding to a growing body of concern over gas stoves, a new Stanford study published on Thursday found that gas stoves emit far more methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, than previously thought. The researchers estimated that gas stoves across the United States emit methane equivalent to the annual emissions from 500,000 cars.

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News Release | Antibiotics

New Coalition to Preserve Antibiotics launches in response to dire Lancet report

U.S. PIRG Education Fund is launching the Coalition to Preserve Antibiotics after a recent report in the esteemed medical journal The Lancet noted that antibiotic resistant infections killed at least 1.27 million people around the world in 2019. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

Medical providers challenging patient-protecting No Surprises Act in court

 U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) moved to file an amicus brief urging the court to uphold the rules implementing the No Surprises Act, arguing that the regulations reflect the language and intent of the Act to keep health care costs down. 

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

Shareholders call on Whole Foods to eliminate single-use plastic packaging

Grocery stores like Whole Foods have a major part to play in the fight against plastic pollution.

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

A Perfect Storm

Today, one in five Americans lives within just three miles of a Superfund toxic waste site. Contaminants of concern at these sites include arsenic, lead, mercury, benzene, dioxin, and other hazardous chemicals that may increase the risk of cancer, reproductive problems, birth defects, and other serious illnesses. Cleanup can take a decade or more, and decreased funding over the last 20 years has led to slower cleanups.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Looking Inward

We surveyed nearly 1,000 personal care products from 26 popular cosmetics companies and scored them on ingredient safety and disclosure. The major takeaway: most companies need to do a lot more to inform their customers about what ingredients are in their products.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Getting off the hook of a predatory tow

Every year, millions of Americans have their cars towed. Under the best circumstances, getting towed is an ordeal, even when justified. U.S. PIRG Education Fund identified 14 common sense towing protections that should be available to consumers in every state, and researched which states offer those protections.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Carbon Pricing 101

U.S. policymakers must use every practical policy tool to tackle climate change – promoting rapid deployment of renewable energy sources, investing in research and development of clean energy technologies and energy efficiency and taking regulatory actions to push polluters away from using dirty fossil fuels. A central element in this strategy should be putting a price on carbon pollution. This new report shows how carbon pricing can be used to push polluters to use energy more efficiently and shift from oil, coal and natural gas to clean, renewable energy.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Warranties in the Void II

An updated survey of warranties from 43 companies finding all tell customers they void warranties for independent repair. The continued problem of warranties wearing thin underscores the need for action on Right to Repair.

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Blog Post

Retailers can do a better job protecting the public from gas stove pollution. | Erin Skibbens

When it comes to selling stoves, there’s no better way to enrich lives than by helping families choose electric options that are safe and clean.

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Blog Post

Are gas stoves bad for the climate? | Erin Skibbens

The climate enemy you didn’t realize was hiding in your kitchen.

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Blog Post

Why is nobody talking about outdoor gear's PFAS problem at Snow Show? | Emily Rogers

Much of our outdoor clothing and gear is waterproofed using toxic PFAS chemicals, but a few industry leaders are beginning to recognize it's not worth the impacts on our health and environment.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Why we should expand composting infrastructure across the country. | Juliana Clejan

Increasing compost can quickly and efficiently decrease methane emissions in landfills and restore soil health. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

People and companies who own some 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs should park outside, away from homes and other structures, according to a warning released Thursday by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Lincoln is Ford’s luxury brand.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

As a growing number of studies have shed new light on the health and environmental harms of gas stoves, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center are releasing a new consumer guide that provides information on how to protect American families and the environment by switching to induction cooking.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

After decades of danger and more than 200 infant deaths, President Joe Biden signed the  Safe Sleep for Babies Act into law on Monday.

Solid Waste

PIRG hosts webinar with MythBusters' Adam Savage on Right to Repair

Our national network and the Right to Repair team organized a summit featuring keynote speaker Adam Savage from MythBusters. He shared his thoughts with us on the movement and we discussed our current progress on the Right to Repair campaign.

 

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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