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 | COVID-19

Worried about taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here's something that can help. | Claudia Deeg

In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the IRS has extended the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020. If you’ve been impacted by the economic ramifications of the outbreak, you may qualify for free tax filing software.

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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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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

The worst possible option for paying your bills | Claudia Deeg

Living in California, I’m currently spending 56% of my income on rent. Most financial advisers say you shouldn’t spend more than 30%. Apparently this qualifies me as “severely cost-burdened,” according to the California Budget & Policy Center.

However, I’m extremely lucky that I’ve kept my job so far since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. When rent was due on April 1st, I could pay it. Sadly, many others couldn’t.

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

On the first of the month, here’s how to address bill payments challenges during COVID-19

CALPIRG Education Fund released a guide Tuesday with tips for how consumers can negotiate with their banks to lower interest rates, waive overdraft fees, and agree on payment plans to provide more financial peace of mind in the months to come. 

 

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

California attorney general demands online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

SACRAMENTO -- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Becerra joined a bipartisan group of 33 attorneys general, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro along with co-leading Attorneys General Hector Balderas (NM), William Tong (CT), and T.J. Donovan (VT), in sending a letter today urging the companies -- Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart -- to quickly implement preventative measures on their platforms to ensure that consumers don’t get taken advantage of during this public health crisis. Attorney General Becerra had previously sent his own, similar letter on Friday, but now 32 other attorneys general are joining him.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Tips

Coronavirus worry triggers most surgical mask, sanitizer prices to spike at least 50% on Amazon

Amazon may monitor its marketplace for price gouging, but a new analysis by U.S. PIRG Education Fund has revealed that these checks don’t always succeed in preventing significant price hikes. With so many people worried about Coronavirus, the consumer advocacy organization looked at the prices for two types of increasingly popular products: hand sanitizers and surgical masks. 

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

CALPIRG's Statement on San Diego Unified's New Plan for Lead Free Drinking Water

Statement from CALPIRG Public Health Advocate, Laura Deehan about San Diego Unified School Districts New Plan to Address Lead in School Drinking Water

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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.

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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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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Equifax Breach: One Year Later

One year after publicly announcing the worst data breach in history, Equifax still hasn’t paid a price or provided the information and tools consumers need to adequately protect themselves. The purpose of this report is to make sure consumers have the information they need to protect themselves as much as possible, review what has happened in the last year, and point out the need for state and federal action to prevent breaches as bad as this one from ever happening again.

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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!

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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.

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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 | 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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