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.

CoPIRG Foundation 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

Dude, where’s my car? | Mark Morgenstein

Getting your vehicle towed can be a memorable experience -- not in a good way

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Blog Post | COVID-19

COVID-19 tests and vaccines are free to consumers. End of story. | Patricia Kelmar

Some consumers continue to be billed for COVID tests and vaccines. So let's get the story straight here.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips

An underappreciated way to fight the opioid crisis AND keep our waterways clean | Patricia Kelmar

 

Saturday, April 24, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Solid Waste

Students host hundreds of local actions for Youth Earth Week

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.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation, Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center, Frontier Group

New report: Repowering Colorado’s buildings could be like taking 1.7 million cars off the road, reduce indoor air pollution

Colorado could see a big and critical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and gas usage if it phases out fossil fuel use in all of its buildings during the next 30 years, according to a new report released today by Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center, CoPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group. The study, Electric Buildings: Repowering Homes and Businesses for Our Health and Environment, found that completely repowering Colorado’s homes and businesses with electricity by 2050 is expected to result in net emissions reductions of 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – equal to taking 1.7 million passenger vehicles off the road – and reductions in pipeline gas usage equal to 170.7 billion cubic feet. It can also reduce indoor air pollution in homes and businesses. 

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | COVID-19

Mayor Hancock joins national call for Trump Administration to centrally purchase and distribute medical supplies

More than 113 mayors and county executives across 18 states delivered a letter to the Trump administration urging the federal government to use its emergency powers to ramp up production of critical medical supplies like ventilators and masks, and to centrally distribute those materials.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | COVID-19

26 Colorado legislators join Attorney General, demand Amazon, other online marketplaces end coronavirus price gouging

26 Colorado legislators are calling on the country’s top online marketplaces to crack down on price gouging amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In total 346 legislators representing 45 states joined CoPIRG Foundation in sending a letter Tuesday urging 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. Less than two weeks ago, 33 attorneys general, including Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, sent a similar letter to the same companies.

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

Here’s how to address bill payment challenges during COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has left many Americans wondering how they’re going to pay their monthly bills. U.S. PIRG Education Fund new advice on how to negotiate with banks, utilities delaying payments, waiving of overdraft fees and other ways to stay financially secure.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Transportation

Clean cars rollback: Bad for our health, our climate, our wallets

In a statement, Danny Katz, CoPIRG Director said “Clean car standards are a proven way to reduce air pollution while saving people at the pump. The advancements we’ve seen in fuel-efficient cars show these standards do not need to be changed. The Trump administration should drop their proposal to throw clean air efforts into reverse and should focus instead on protecting our health now and into the future.” 

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Report | CoPIRG | Safe Energy

Factsheet: Xcel's Goals, Actuals and Future Recommendations

View a chart of Xcel's energy saving goals and actuals for the last five years and their proposal and SWEEP's recommendations for the next five years.

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Report | CoPIRG | Safe Energy

Infographic: Energy Savings and Why Xcel Should Do More

Check out this simple infographic to learn more about the benefits of energy efficiency in Colorado, the impacts of the state's largest utility, Xcel Energy's, programs and why Xcel should continue to do more.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

The Unfriendly Skies

Consolidation in the airline industry, along with pressures created by new security rules and the recent high cost of aviation gasoline, has changed the way we fly. It seems as if every consumer has an airline travel story—how they were trapped on the tarmac, tricked by fees, missed their connection, or lost their bag.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Budget

Following the Money 2014

Every year, state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are well spent.

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Report | CoPIRG | Democracy

McCutcheon Money

We project that striking the aggregate contribution limit would bring more than $1 billion in additional campaign contributions from elite donors through the 2020 election cycle.

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Pages

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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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation

Even though legitimate toymakers deserve kudos for making many of their products safer over the years, too often, Americans end up buying dangerous toys for children for the holidays. CoPIRG Foundation’s 36th annual Trouble in Toyland report shows that many of those toys are counterfeit or recalled products, but still make their way into consumers’ shopping carts.

News Release | CoPIRG Foundation

The holiday season often entails spending a lot of hours in the kitchen cooking. As millions of Americans prepare holiday meals to share with their families, a new guide from CoPIRG Foundation offers tips on how to minimize unhealthy air pollution from cooking with gas in your home. Without proper precautions, too much exposure to a gas stove can lead to an unnecessary and invisible health risk, since gas stoves can cause elevated levels of indoor pollution that would exceed legal limits for outdoor air. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

More than 125 medical professionals organized by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund sent a letter to McDonald’s Thursday urging the company to meet its 2018 commitment to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. The coalition delivered the letter at the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week to stress the urgency of taking action to stop overusing our life-saving medicines in agriculture. Otherwise, the drugs may no longer heal sick people. 

News Release

Apple reversed its longstanding policy against selling spare parts, providing repair instructions, and making repair software tools available to customers.

News Release | CoPIRG and Eco-Cycle

In their fifth annual State of Recycling & Composting in Colorado Report, Eco-Cycle and CoPIRG found Colorado’s 2020 waste diversion rate of 15.3% has failed to improve over the last few years and remains well below the national average of 32% and the over 50% rate that leading Colorado cities currently achieve. In 2020, Coloradans buried over 5.9 million tons of materials in the state’s landfills that could have been reintroduced into our economy as materials for manufacturing and as compost to rebuild our soils.

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