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 | COVID-19

Health pros call for transparent, central coordination from Trump administration

CALPIRG along with U.S.PIRG, the federation of State PIRGs, Get Us PPE, Doctors for America, Physicians for Social Responsibility and several other health groups, along with nearly 300 medical professionals, including over a hundred from California, sent a letter to the Trump Administration on Friday calling for central coordination of the medical supply chain and comprehensive testing infrastructure. More than two months into the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, health professionals say they still lack adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe.

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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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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Americans need stronger consumer protections during COVID-19 crisis

U.S. PIRG Education Fund has released a report with the Student Borrower Protection Center and Consumer Action. The report makes recommendations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to upgrade its consumer complaint tool, including the public consumer complaint database, so COVID19-related complaints can be handled more quickly and tracked better.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Factory farms: A pandemic in the making. | Matt Wellington

The emergence and spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic is a symptom of how we raise food animals across the world. 

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: SBA data breach puts business owners at risk of ID theft and other fraud

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Tuesday that the personal information of nearly 8,000 business owners applying for federal disaster loans had been exposed. The breach affects applicants to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), and may have included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, citizenship statuses and insurance information.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: SBA data breach puts business owners at risk of ID theft and other fraud

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Tuesday that the personal information of nearly 8,000 business owners applying for federal disaster loans had been exposed. The breach affects applicants to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), and may have included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, citizenship statuses and insurance information.

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News Release | CALPIRG Students | Solid Waste

University of California, Berkeley, leads the way with country’s strongest single-use plastic ban

BERKELEY, Calif. — The University of California, Berkeley has committed to eliminating all non-essential single-use plastic with viable alternatives by 2030. CALPIRG's student chapter on campus played a significant role in advocating for the new policy. 

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

Statement: CALPIRG supports Gov. Newsom’s call for more comprehensive COVID-19 testing

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today laid out key steps necessary for our state to return to something similar to normal life in the future. Step one, he said, toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic is the “ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating and supporting those who are positive or exposed.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips, COVID-19

Consumer complaints of COVID-19 fraud surpass 15,000

Scammers and other bad actors are trying to take advantage of Americans’ heightened fears around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and fraud complaints are soaring. Consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the virus surpassed 15,000 Thursday.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | COVID-19

31 California legislators demand Amazon, other online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

31 California legislators, led by Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose), are joining CALPIRG Education Fund in calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Get The Lead Out

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. As our report shows, states are failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school.  Instead of waiting for more testing, we need to proactively remove the lead pipes and plumbing at the root of this toxic hazard for our children.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Glyphosate pesticide in beer and wine

To explore how much Roundup we’re drinking, U.S. PIRG tested beer and wine for glyphosate/Roundup. As we’ve confirmed in this study, Roundup is found in beer and wine. This confirms past studies on the topic, which found that glyphosate is found in almost all adult beverages. For example, in 2016, beer testing in Germany also revealed residues of glyphosate in every single sample tested, even in independent beers. After that study was released, German brewers managed to severely limit the amount of glyphosate used in brewing, and saw marked improvement in a 2017 follow-up study.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund

Glyphosate pesticide in beer and wine

To explore how much Roundup we’re drinking, U.S. PIRG tested beer and wine for glyphosate/Roundup. As we’ve confirmed in this study, Roundup is found in beer and wine. This confirms past studies on the topic, which found that glyphosate is found in almost all adult beverages. For example, in 2016, beer testing in Germany also revealed residues of glyphosate in every single sample tested, even in independent beers. After that study was released, German brewers managed to severely limit the amount of glyphosate used in brewing, and saw marked improvement in a 2017 follow-up study.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

How Safe Is Our Food?

Americans rely on a vast network of farms and businesses to provide safe food daily.  But in recent years, a string of high-profile recalls ranging from romaine lettuce to millions of pounds of beef to Ritz and Goldfish crackers have called into question the system developed to ensure safe food reaches people’s plates. The ubiquity of the problem can make grocery shopping a game of Russian Roulette where what a family has for dinner could make them seriously sick.

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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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Blog Post

What Actions are California Cities Taking to Reduce the Use of Monsanto's Roundup? | Emily Rusch

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. 

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Blog Post | Democracy

CALPIRG's New Voters Project Helped Turn Out Youth Vote | Emily Rusch

CALPIRG Education Fund’s New Voters Project ensured that thousands of newly eligible young voters registered to vote, received non-partisan information about what was on their ballot, and cast a ballot by Election Day. In total, our team helped register more than 6,000 students to vote and made more than 500,000 Get out the Vote contacts. Here are our highlights, lowlights, and recommendations for future elections.

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Blog Post | Safe Energy

#EEDay2018 - States Can Lead | Abe Scarr

The cheapest, cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use in the first place. Whether you care about improving air quality, fending off the worst impacts of global warming, or simply saving money, energy efficiency and conservation are critical.

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Blog Post | Transportation

A Commitment to All-Electric Buses is the Next Step for California to Reduce Air Pollution and Fight Climate Change | Emily Rusch

Today I'm at the California Air Resources Board to testify in favor of 100% clean, zero-emission transit buses. Here's why it matters.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

ID Theft & Privacy Checklists | Mike Litt

Today, we're releasing our revamped Identity Theft and Online Privacy resources.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

This coming Monday, June 1, will mark the third full month that bills are due since COVID-19 was declared a national state of emergency in March. To help Americans manage their finances, U.S. PIRG Education Fund has published an updated guide with tips on what to do about paying bills during the crisis.

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Consumer complaints to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the coronavirus approached 50,000 on Tuesday. U.S. PIRG Education Fund has documented the actions taken by the FTC and 14 other federal agencies in response to coronavirus scams.

News Release | CALPIRG

Governor Newsom’s Executive Order today expanding mail-in ballots to every registered voter is a no brainer for safe, secure elections in November. 

Blog Post

Public health experts have made it abundantly clear that to safely lift stay-at-home rules we must have four key things we don’t yet have. We need fast, accurate and widely available testing. We need a better plan for isolating and supporting people who have COVID-19. We need sufficient hospital capacity, including medical and protective equipment, to treat all patients safely. And we need more contact tracing. This blog explains U.S. PIRG's support for automated warning and contact tracing, subject to appropriate privacy and civil liberties protections, which can provide critical information quickly about who has potentially been exposed.

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