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

Will my electricity go up? | Bay Scoggin

As freezing temperatures rock the Texas power grid, electricity prices are surging. Will your bill go up? We have answers.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

How to Identify and Report Price Gouging during the Texas Freeze | Lauren Banister

As the winter freeze in Texas continues to unfold, many Texans are complaining about extremely high prices for shelter, safe drinking water and plumbers services to fix broken pipes. There is a lot to worry about with this crisis and absurd prices for basic necessities shouldn't be one of them. 

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Jessica Schreiber: ‘It’s just too easy and convenient to throw things away’ | Olivia Sullivan

We need to make it easier for clothing companies to reuse and recycle. Policy, data collection and nonprofits can help.

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Blog Post

Texas power outages and winter storms in the midst of a pandemic

State and national emergencies this year show the necessity of anti-price gouging efforts.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Should I be dripping my faucets? | Lauren Banister

We have been hearing for days about the need to drip faucets to keep our pipes from freezing. But now the message has changed. With slightly higher temperatures and a water supply crisis brewing across the state, the most important task at hand is to conserve as much water as possible. Hospitals and emergency services are relying on us. Here are the best tips we can find to help keep your pipes from freezing while conserving as much water as possible.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Proprietary medical device repair harms hospitals, could threaten patients, during COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is putting incredible stress on the U.S. medical system, including the equipment that is essential to diagnose and treat patients, such as ventilators. As that equipment is pressed into round-the-clock use, biomedical repair technicians face increasing pressure to maintain and repair all that equipment. However, in too many cases, manufacturers limit access to the essential tools and information these repair experts need. A new report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Hospital Repair Restrictions, details the challenges that medical professionals face as a result of device manufacturers setting up barriers to repair, and outlines steps to take to help hospitals.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Fresh Express recalls bagged salad mixes after 200 reports of parasitic infection

A microscopic parasite found in Fresh Express bagged salads has made 200 people sick and has led to 23 hospitalizations.

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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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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund & Environment California Research and Policy Center | Transportation

Ready to Charge

Global warming is already impacting California in devastating ways. In 2018, wildfires ravaged the state, with the deadliest wildfire in history, the Camp Fire, killing at least 85 people, and the largest wildfire ever recorded in the state, the Mendocino Complex, burning almost half a million acres. For nearly seven years, the state has been experiencing a drought, which has greatly impacted agriculture and water resources. At the same time, rising sea levels threaten coastal communities with flooding, erosion and mudslides.

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

The Real Price of Medications

People living in the United States have access to some of the best medical care in the world, from life-saving drugs to cutting-edge surgical techniques. But our system is deeply flawed, with spiraling costs forcing many Americans to spend more on care and often receiving poor quality care for all the extra money spent.

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

Glyphosate In Beer and Wine

Roundup is everywhere. As the most commonly used agrichemical in the world, Roundup and its main active ingredient, glyphosate, is showing up in places people do not expect, such as food and drinks. In this report, we tested beer and wine and found glyphosate in beer and wine from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. We even found glyphosate in some unexpected places, such as in some organic varieties.

 

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Climate Solutions from Day One

New governors are getting ready to take office in 20 states, from Florida to Alaska. As America’s newly elected governors prepare to take on their states’ biggest challenges, they should prioritize taking bold action on the greatest challenge of our time: climate change.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Tax

A Simple Fix for a $17 Billion Loophole

Every year, corporations use complicated schemes to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes—in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. A Simple Fix details how much money each state would recover if it required companies to follow one or more standard procedures, including domestic combined reporting, tax haven list reform and worldwide combined reporting—otherwise known as complete reporting.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

What does buying a car look like during a pandemic? | Lucy Baker

In October, US PIRG and Frontier Group released a report on how the pandemic has affected auto leasing and lending. We found that, like in a lot of industries, the pandemic has exacerbated already serious issues and has brought them to the forefront of our attention.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Online shopping tips: Don't let last-minute desperation make you careless | Jacob van Cleef

Here's some advice to help keep your information and wallet safe

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

Gift Guide: How to avoid toxics in beauty products | Gina Werdel

Gifting beauty products to family and friends this holiday season? Here's a guide to purchasing safer beauty products.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Did your auto insurance company refund you enough for driving less this year? | Jacob van Cleef

State-by-state analysis shows companies financially benefited from fewer claims but barely compensated customers

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

16 ways to have a zero waste holiday in 2020 | Haley Clinton

With many cancelling annual gatherings, this is the year to think of ways to have a more sustainable, zero waste holiday season. Here are some ideas:

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Pages

News Release | U.S. PIRG

BOSTON - The Student PIRGs, a student environmental organizing group, is partnering with local organizations, student governments and elected officials to host in-person and virtual actions to celebrate Youth Earth Week, a national effort of more than 250 actions around the country to protect the environment, from April 19 to 23.

Blog Post

This blog is the second in a series examining policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis that are proven and replicable. This section covers recycled content requirements.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

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.

News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

A month after announcing a weak plan to reduce heavy metals in baby food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new plan Thursday aimed at making baby food safer over the next several years.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

A new survey from U.S. PIRG Education Fund finds all 43 appliance manufacturers we surveyed would consider voiding the warranty if a device had “unauthorized” repair, despite a 2018 warning from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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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This Earth Day

Let's work together to move companies, our state, our nation and ourselves beyond plastic.




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.