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

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

The hidden costs of Buy Now, Pay Later

Report on issues with "Buy Now, Pay Later" financing plans.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Release: Dark patterns: Your apps know too much about you, so what can you do?

The new tips guide from U.S. PIRG Education Fund can help consumers control access to their private information and what companies can do with your data if they get it.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Dark patterns: A step-by-step guide to protect your privacy on your phone | Isabel Brown

Dark patterns are one way apps and websites steer consumers into making the choice that’s right for the app or website but wrong for the consumer.

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

Dark Patterns: A step-by-step guide to protect your privacy on your phone

Apps and social media are a part of everyday life. They help us stay connected to the world around us. But it can be easy to overlook the risk involved with making personal information accessible online, especially when that information can be recorded, bought and sold by the companies running the apps.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

RELEASE: ‘Failing the Fix’ scorecard grades Apple, Google, Dell, others on how fixable their devices are

Dell leads pack for laptops; Motorola for cell phones; Apple ranks lowest for both, according to repairability analysis by Right to Repair advocates 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Report: Airlines’ refund policies, scheduling problems irk flyers

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 (DOT).

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

Medical professionals urge McDonald’s to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain

More than 125 medical professionals organized by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund sent a letter to McDonald’s Thursday urging the company to meet its 2018 commitment to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. The coalition delivered the letter at the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week to stress the urgency of taking action to stop overusing our life-saving medicines in agriculture. Otherwise, the drugs may no longer heal sick people. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

New holiday cooking safety guide offers tips on how to avoid unhealthy air pollution from gas stoves

The holiday season often entails spending a lot of hours in the kitchen cooking. As millions of Americans prepare holiday meals to share with their families, a new guide from PIRG’s research partner PIRG Education Fund offers tips on how to minimize unhealthy air pollution from cooking with gas in your home.

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News Release | Solid Waste

STATEMENT: Apple concedes to Right to Repair movement, reverses ban on selling parts to consumers

Apple reversed its longstanding policy against selling spare parts, providing repair instructions, and making repair software tools available to customers.

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

36th annual Trouble in Toyland report exposes risks of counterfeit and other dangerous toys

Even though legitimate toymakers deserve kudos for making many of their products safer over the years, too often, Americans end up buying dangerous toys for children for the holidays.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

1 Year Later: Comparing Pre-Pandemic prices to Today's on Amazon

U.S. PIRG Education Fund's third and most comprehensive report into pandemic price gouging on Amazon compares pre-pandemic prices to today's on 750 products, from 15 essential product categories.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

First Things to Fix

After years of setbacks on the environment, in the Biden administration’s early days, it is critical that we take swift action to clean up our environment and address the climate crisis. There are several important environmental policies that can be set in motion on day one that will protect our natural landscapes and give Americans cleaner air, cleaner water and a more livable climate. This report lists the First Things to Fix.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Highway Boondoggles 6

In our sixth annual Highway Boondoggles report we profile six budget-busting highway expansion projects that are poised to go forward amid COVID-related budget shortfalls.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Blueprint for America

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. 

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

35th Trouble in Toyland

The 35th annual Trouble in Toyland report identifies nine toy hazards, along with simple tips on how parents can keep their kids safer.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Examining Google’s repair track-record as shareholders call for change | Nathan Proctor

Google’s parent company, Alphabet*, faces shareholder proposal because of history of repair restrictions

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Blog Post

How to reduce your foodprint for your 2022 New Year’s resolution | Danielle Melgar

Many of us use this time of year to reflect on what we want to do differently in the year ahead. One resolution that could really help the planet? Reducing your foodprint.

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Blog Post

What's wrong with buy now, pay later? The risks of the newest tool to pull you into debt | R.J. Cross

Buy now, pay later apps give consumers the flexibility of paying for purchases in installments, but that convenience comes at a cost. Besides being unregulated and full of fine print, these companies have one ultimate goal: get you to buy more stuff, and go into debt to do it.

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

10 steps Whole Foods can immediately take to reduce single-use plastic | Juliana Clejan

The national chain prides itself on being a green grocer, but in reality, their promises fall short. Here are 10 steps that Whole Foods should take – many of which have already been taken by other retailers – to be more sustainable and ultimately be an industry leader once again.

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Blog Post

Deere shareholders: “It doesn’t add up.” Kevin O'ReillyNathan Proctor

Tractor giant petitions SEC to strike shareholder resolution asking tough questions about Right to Repair 

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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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