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

Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Rebooking airline tickets: How to sort out various vouchers and credits for future flights | Jacob van Cleef

With vaccines here, it may soon be time to reschedule vacations and other trips for later this year

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

One year later on Amazon: New analysis shows hundreds of price-gouged products

At the start of 2020, toilet paper stockpiling and a run on hand sanitizer would have never crossed our minds. Unfortunately, we’ve lived in a different reality since then. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Californians have witnessed shortages of -- and price gouging on -- a range of household and medical products from disinfectant wipes to face masks. And a year later, even though most products are back in stock, CALPIRG Education Fund’s new report shows we’re still seeing significant price hikes on essentials on Amazon.

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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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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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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

California groups urge Whole Foods: Put planet over plastic and eliminate plastic packaging

CALPIRG Education Fund and Environment California Research & Policy Center launched a campaign to call on Whole Foods to eliminate single-use plastic packaging from its stores.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | COVID-19, Public Health, Health Care

Report: Nursing homes endure massive PPE shortages

California nursing homes, along with thousands nationwide, are dealing with horrific shortages of masks, gowns and other items they need to protect residents, workers and the broader community from COVID-19, according to “Nursing home safety during COVID: PPE shortages,” a report by the CALPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

New report: COVID-19 pandemic worsens existing consumer problems with car buying

Consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding vehicle loans and leases have increased sharply during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by the CALPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group. The analysis suggests that consumers in California and across the United States are facing abusive and deceptive practices from the automobile lending industry. 

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News Release | US PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

FTC settles first case against VoIP provider for allowing illegal robocalls

This FTC settlement must be a wake-up call to phone service providers so they do more to protect consumers. If not, the FTC must be vigilant in going after companies that enable the immoral practice of preying on consumers. And the FCC should require providers to block spoofed calls that we all know are scams.

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News Release | CALPIRG | COVID-19

Gov. Newsom makes the right call to save lives

Even as cases come down as a result of shutting down parts of the economy and other public health interventions, to maintain that progress the state has to implement more robust testing, contact tracing, and isolation protocols. This is our second chance to reopen safely, we might not get a third.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund

Open Safe California: Is the state effectively containing the novel coronavirus?

COVID Exit Strategy (www.covidexitstrategy.org), a nonpartisan group of public health and crisis experts, has been tracking the progress states have made towards meeting the CDC recommended benchmarks states should reach before reopening their economies. As of the week ending on June 26th, only six states were meeting these metrics, earning a “Green” rating. Currently, California is failing half of the benchmarks, and is rated “Red” by COVID Exit Strategy.

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

Putting Consumers First

U.S. PIRG Education Fund, the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action have released a report recommending that  CFPB should use the full extent of its authority to take immediate action to strengthen its consumer complaint tool, hold companies accountable for providing complete and timely responses to consumers, and leverage consumer complaints related to the pandemic to support oversight and regulatory action to protect consumers.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

Food Recall Failure

Most grocery store chains are not warning their customers about dangerous food recalls. Find out if your store makes the grade.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

What are Californians Fixing?

According to our review of data from iFixit, a self-described “repair guide for everything, written by everyone,” nearly 8 million unique users from California went onto their website, www.ifixit.com, to look up how to repair something in 2018.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Electric Buses in America

AMERICA’S BUS NETWORK plays a crucial role in the lives of millions of people, providing transportation for those who cannot or do not wish to drive, and carrying up to half of all American children to and from school every day. The majority of America’s buses, however, are still powered by polluting fossil fuels such as diesel that pose a serious risk to public health and contribute to global warming. This report profiles six communities' experiences adopting electric buses, including Twin Rivers, California.

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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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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Gift cards are a popular holiday purchase, but be careful this year | Teresa Murray

COVID-19 could push more stores and restaurants out of business soon

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Number of people living on the streets could triple in the months ahead | Jacob van Cleef

Eviction moratoriums, unemployment benefits, student loan repayment reprieves are ending, homeless shelters aren't a good option and there's no more relief in sight.

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Pages

Report | US PIRG Education Fund

For most of last year, more than 200,000 people at any given time were in nursing homes that themselves acknowledged they were suffering from staff shortages.

News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

At any given time throughout most of 2020, more than 200,000 Americans resided in nursing homes that admit they were suffering through staff shortages.

Blog Post

Plastic is a problem not just for our environment, but also for our health. Chemicals used to make plastics anti-microbial, flame retardant, and more, can be toxic.

Blog Post

McDonald’s just committed to phasing out PFAS-treated food packaging from its restaurants globally by 2025. Other restaurants, like Burger King and Wendy’s, should follow its lead.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

McDonald’s announced a commitment to eliminate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging used in its restaurants by 2025. PFAS are linked to kidney and liver problems, high cholesterol, reduced immune system function, and cancer.

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