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

New report outlines how electric school buses could speed transition to clean electric grid

As early as next month, billions of new federal dollars will start to become available for school districts across the country to transition to clean, electric school buses. Today, most of the nation’s nearly half a million school buses run on diesel fuel, producing harmful emissions that children are forced to breathe. With the support of the World Resources Institute’s Electric School Bus Initiative, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group are releasing a new report examining how the transition to electric school buses, in addition to keeping diesel exhaust out of developing lungs, could help speed up the expansion of clean energy by providing a critical source of reliable battery storage. 

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Electric School Buses and the Grid

Transitioning to electric school buses would provide numerous benefits to communities and the environment, including improving children’s health and reducing air and noise pollution. This new report details the the potential to bring even greater benefits if they are equipped with technology that allows them to deliver power to buildings and back to the grid.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Tips

Release: As bills from 2022 medical care arrive in mailboxes, patients should know their rights

 Patients who received medical care in January and February are starting to receive their medical bills for those services. That’s why, in recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, it’s timely to remind people to check their bills carefully and make sure they know their new legal protections against surprise billing.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Counterfeit products are everywhere; here are tips to avoid buying any of them online | Hannah Rhodes

Being alert when shopping online is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from unsafe products. 

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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. 

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

EPA expands testing for 'forever chemicals' from drinking water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it will expand testing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS, in drinking water throughout the country.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Electric Buildings

This new report documents the benefits of electrifying the majority of buildings in America to consumers and the environment.

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Report | USPIRG Education Fund

Transform Transportation

America’s current transportation system has been designed, built and centered around the automobile, and it is a public health disaster. U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group’s latest report, Transform Transportation, identifies the numerous harmful health impacts caused by America’s car-centric transportation system and provides a three-step roadmap toward a healthier, more sustainable approach to transportation infrastructure.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Nursing home safety during COVID: Cases and vaccines

Hundreds of U.S. nursing homes this year are reporting their very first cases of COVID-19 after avoiding any cases all of last year. The high number of nursing homes that experienced their very first cases of COVID-19 this year -- while fending them off during the horror of 2020 -- is among the clear indications that this pandemic isn’t over. There are many reasons for optimism, particularly the huge turnaround that started in the second half of December when vaccines started rolling out. We found that has led to a decline in nursing home cases exceeding 80 percent.

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Report | U.S.PIRG Education Fund

Vital and Undervalued

As the pandemic has painfully reminded us, our entire society depends on caregivers yet we undervalue the vital contributions of unpaid family caregivers. It benefits all of us when it is possible for people to care for their loved ones who need care, so we should increase support for family caregivers.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Consumers in peril

U.S. PIRG Education Fund report documents that complaints to the CFPB, led by complaints about credit bureaus, set new records in 2020.

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Blog Post

Why Farmers Need Right to Repair | Kevin O'Reilly

How tractor repair restrictions affect farmers and what can be done to eliminate them.

A study by U.S. PIRG Education Fund and National Farmers Union.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

How to keep food safe during a power outage | Isabel Brown

When the power goes out, the food in your refrigerator and freezer can get up to temperatures that make it no longer safe to eat.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Dealing with winter storm Kenan: Protect yourself, your home and your finances | Teresa Murray

With the massive winter storm that's expected to hit the East Coast this weekend, here are some tips to help consumers protect themselves during and after a disaster, including how to spot possible opportunists, bad deals and con-artists.

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Blog Post

Knowledge is power— electromagnetic power, to be exact. | Erin Skibbens

Cooking with gas relies on combusting methane, which releases health-harming pollutants into the surrounding air. But there are better options.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Airlines choose money over safety with relaxed COVID policies | Jacob van Cleef

Though reducing isolation periods saves airlines money, it is the most irresponsible choice that could lead to more employees and customers getting sick.

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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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