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.

CALPIRG 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 | CALPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

“High Desert Freeway” makes national list of highway boondoggles

“To improve California’s transportation system and hit our climate and clean air goals, we must reduce our reliance on cars and highways,” said Emily Rusch, CALPIRG Education Fund executive director. “This project does the opposite, doubling down on a car-centric system that will encourage more people to hit the roads -- leading to more traffic, sprawl and pollution.”

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Highway Boondoggles 5

Year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that often do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from infrastructure repairs and key transportation priorities. Our 5th annual Highway Boondoggles report features the proposed High Desert Freeway east of Los Angeles. This $8 billion project would lead to more driving and more pollution, along with sprawling desert development.

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News Release | US PIRG | Public Health

Statement: State jury orders Bayer to pay more than $2 billion to couple in Roundup cancer case

A state jury in Oakland decided that the use of Roundup by a California couple for residential landscaping over a 30 year period was a “substantial factor” that led to them developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Statement: California bans brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos

In a major victory for California families,state officials announced this week they will prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide linked to permanent brain damage in young children.Gov. Newsom also announced funding to help farmers transition to safer alternatives. The process is expected to take from six months to two years.

 

With this decision, California becomes the third state to ban chlorpyrifos, following Hawaii and New York. This is also the first time the Golden State canceled the registration of a currently-used pesticide.

 

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Los Angeles Unified School District redoubles efforts to get the lead out of drinking water

The second largest school district in the country recently took a big step to get the lead out of their drinking water. On April 23rd, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) voted to spend $15 million to retest drinking water outlets, and either fix or replace water fountains where tests come back positive for at least 5 parts per billion (ppb) of lead.

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News Release | US PIRG | Public Health

Statement: State jury orders Bayer to pay more than $2 billion to couple in Roundup cancer case

A state jury in Oakland decided that the use of Roundup by a California couple for residential landscaping over a 30 year period was a “substantial factor” that led to them developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Statement: California bans brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos

In a major victory for California families,state officials announced this week they will prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide linked to permanent brain damage in young children.Gov. Newsom also announced funding to help farmers transition to safer alternatives. The process is expected to take from six months to two years.

 

With this decision, California becomes the third state to ban chlorpyrifos, following Hawaii and New York. This is also the first time the Golden State canceled the registration of a currently-used pesticide.

 

> Keep Reading
News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Los Angeles Unified School District redoubles efforts to get the lead out of drinking water

The second largest school district in the country recently took a big step to get the lead out of their drinking water. On April 23rd, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) voted to spend $15 million to retest drinking water outlets, and either fix or replace water fountains where tests come back positive for at least 5 parts per billion (ppb) of lead.

> Keep Reading
News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Fisher-Price recalls nearly 5 million potentially deadly Rock n’Play sleepers

Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million Rock n’Play baby sleepers on Friday. U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog Adam Garber issued a response: "“While we’re pleased that Fisher-Price is finally recalling these dangerous sleepers, 30 deaths in 10 years is 30 deaths too many and 10 years too late."

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News Release | Consumer Protection

Statement on Wells Fargo’s response to “Debit Cards on Campus” report

Read U.S. PIRG's statement on Wells Fargo eliminating some fees for student on debit cards.

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Report | CALPIRG 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. Meanwhile, smaller, wholly-domestic U.S. businesses cannot game the system in the same way. The result is that large multinational businesses compete on an uneven playing field, avoiding taxes that their small competitors must pay. Innovation in the marketplace is replaced by innovation in the tax code.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

The State of Waste in California

Californians throw away 6 pounds of trash every day, equivalent to almost 2200 pounds every year, roughly the weight of a subcompact car. These individual results more than double the state’s 2020 goal of 2.7 pounds per person per day (PPD).

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Paying for Electric Buses: Financing Tools for Cities and Agencies to Ditch Diesel

Most of America’s school and transit buses run on diesel, a highly-polluting fuel, but there is a better option. All-electric buses are here, and they’re cleaner, healthier and save money for transit agencies, school districts and bus contractors to run in the long-term.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

A Citizen's Guide to Reducing Energy Waste

The future is here—but we’re living in the past.

Clean energy from the sun and wind can provide for our energy needs without the global consequences of pollution, yet we’re still producing and consuming virtually all of our energy in ways that do lasting damage to our environment, our health and our climate. To make matters worse, much of the dirty energy we produce goes to waste.

> Keep Reading
Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Get the Lead Out: Back to School Toolkit

Our children need safe drinking water—especially at school where they go to learn and play each day. Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country. This “Back to School” toolkit is designed to help parents, teachers and school officials get the facts on lead in drinking water and make the case for strong local action to ensure safe drinking water at school. 

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Blog Post | Antibiotics

This 4th of July, Hold the Antibiotics | Laura Deehan

Its almost July 4th, and soon Californians from San Diego to Redding will gather to watch fireworks and enjoy the peak of summer. Most of us will eat a barbecued meal with family and friends as well — the Fourth is the number one grilling event of the year. Here are some key things to know to protect your health when you’re preparing your holiday barbecue.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Toxic triclosan in toothpaste? | Dev Gowda

A recent article in the LA Times revealed that a new study found that the toxic compound triclosan, which is commonly found in toothpaste as well as other consumer products such as cosmetics, children’s toys, and yoga mats, “could cause adverse effects on colonic inflammation and colon cancer.”

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Blog Post | Democracy

Don't Forget to Register and Vote! | Emily Rusch

Today is the last day to register to vote before the June primary! Recent policy changes backed by CALPIRG have helped modernize our elections and remove unecessary barriers to voting. Now voter registration rates are they highest they've been in 64 years!

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Home remodeling shouldn’t be a deadly project: Toxic paint removers being sold by Lowe’s and other stores | Dev Gowda

No one should lose a loved one to deadly chemicals. But right now you can walk into Lowe’s and other stores and buy paint removers containing highly toxic chemicals.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Public Health

Lead-Free Schools: Steps forward in Oakland but more work to do | Emily Rusch

What could be more basic than providing clean, safe drinking water for our kids in schools? On Wednesday night the Oakland Unified School Board meeting voted to approve a new drinking water policy to help identify and remove sources of lead exposure to kids in drinking water fountains. 

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News Release | CALPIRG

Oakland – With school kids “back to school”, and the legislature wrapping up their 2019 session, CALPIRG today released a new free toolkit to help parents, teachers and administrators Get the Lead Out of school drinking water.  With a lack of complete information on lead contamination in schools throughout the state, CALPIRG Education Fund provide this tool to grapple with this serious health threat facing our children.

Blog Post

With more and more suits against Monsanto lining up, communities are pushing back against the use of Roundup and associated glyphosate-based herbicides. One by one, cities are passing restrictions on Roundup, and finding alternative, healthier ways to maintain operations. 

We spoke to city officials to find out how restrictions on Roundup are implemented in their community. Although the change can come with challenges, these cities show that every community has the capacity to reduce its usage of dangerous pesticides in some shape or form. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG

Everyone should assume that their social security number has been exposed between this breach and breaches of other major companies’ databases, such as Equifax’s. With that in mind, U.S. PIRG recommends all Americans should use their right by law to freeze their credit reports for free

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Our response to Equifax paying a $650 million penalty for exposing the social security numbers of 148 million Americans to identity theft.

News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund

Today, July 1, 2019, is the deadline for schools to test their drinking water for lead under a 2017 law authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez. Unfortunately, more than 1,600 school drinking water fountains tested positive for lead. Additionally, based on the most recent data available, some schools likely missed the deadline for getting their water tested. 

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