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 | US PIRG Education Fund | Antibiotics

Chain Reaction VI

The Chain Reaction VI report and scorecard ranks America’s top restaurant chains on their policies relating to antibiotic use in their beef supply chains. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Report: Most restaurants fail to stop antibiotic overuse in their beef supplies

Most top restaurant chains in the United States have failed to adopt policies to stop the overuse of antibiotics by their beef suppliers, according to the sixth annual Chain Reaction scorecard released today by six major consumer, public health and environmental organizations.

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Blog Post | Antibiotics

Wendy's takes action to stop antibiotic overuse | Matt Wellington

Wendy's, the third largest burger chain in the country, committed to prohibiting the routine use of medically important antibotics in its meat supply chains by the end of 2030. 

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, Consumer Protection

Waking up to the dangers of inclined infant sleepers | Teresa Murray

If you’re stunned that safety standards for inclined sleepers weren’t required before, get this: The new rules don’t take effect for a year. That’s one of the problems in the world of infant sleep.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG

New study: Nearly 70% of companies surveyed over 5 years have improved toxic chemical safety programs

The fifth annual Mind the Store campaign retailer report card examines major retailers’ chemical safety policies. It has helped win improvements to company commitments from 70 percent of retailers surveyed.

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News Release | USPIRG

New report proposes roadmap for how to transform America’s transportation infrastructure

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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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Comprehensive bill calls for U.S. to move beyond plastic

WASHINGTON -- As plastic pollution becomes an increasingly dire problem, elected officials in both chambers of Congress introduced legislation Thursday to address the issue. On Capitol Hill today, Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA) unveiled the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021, a bill to improve the health of our people and our planet.


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News Release | U.S. PIRG

Statement: Gov. Northam announces executive order to phase out single use plastics

RICHMOND, Va -- Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday Executive Order 77, eliminating disposable plastic bags and single-use foodware at all state agencies within 120 days, and phasing out  a wider range of single-use plastics in the state agencies and public universities by 2025. It also directs the state government to develop solid waste reduction and landfill diversion recommendations.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

New report: COVID-19 cases in nursing homes drop by 80 percent after mass vaccinations

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. But this is not a time to act irresponsibly or get overly confident.

 

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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

Another face of toxic-free beauty advocacy | Gina Werdel

We spoke to Je’May Ward, a clean beauty blogger from North Carolina, about what clean beauty advocacy means for her.

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Video Blog

A discussion of "Superfund Underfunded: How taxpayers have been left with a toxic financial burden"

U.S. PIRG, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, and the Center for Health, Environment & Justice hosted a webinar discussion of U.S. PIRG Education Fund's new report, "Superfund Underfunded: How taxpayers have been left with a toxic financial burden," and how we can address the problem of toxic waste in our communities. 

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Blog Post

Hacking through thickets of drug patents to get to affordable medicine | Patricia Kelmar

Here are the tactics that drug companies use to keep lower-priced drug competitors out of the market

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Plastic waste solutions hiding in plain sight: Single-use plastic product bans | Haley Clinton

This blog is the first in a series examining policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis that are proven and replicable. This section covers single-use plastic product bans.

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Blog Post

Court case puts air ambulance memberships in spotlight. What does this mean for consumers? | William McGovern

Air ambulance bills can run in the thousands of dollars. Some companies sell "memberships" to consumers. But this option may not be a smart purchase for most consumers. 

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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. 

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

Thousands call on the Environmental Protection Agency to take action to protect our drinking water and reduce two major sources of pollution: toxic PFAS "forever chemicals" and waste from slaughterhouses.

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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