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 | Consumer Tips, COVID-19, Public Health

After 20 people die and dozens become ill, FDA finally flags hand sanitizer from Mexico | Teresa Murray

Consumers still at risk for harmful over-the-counter drug products of all types because of soft federal regulations.

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Blog Post

How to explore consumer problems in the financial marketplace using the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database | Gideon Weissman

The CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database is a powerful tool for understanding the problems consumers face in the financial marketplace. The more people that use it — and the more people that publicize the tool’s utility and write to the CFPB with suggestions — the better off we will all be.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Colorado Surprise Medical Bills - Know Your Rights and Consumer Tips

Imagine you go to a hospital for a routine procedure. You’ve made sure your hospital and doctor are covered by your insurance. The procedure goes well and you head home to recover. Two weeks later, you get the bill, but instead of the copay you expected, you get a bill for nearly $4,000. Turns out, a surgical “assistant” who was out-of-network joined your in-network surgeon on your procedure and your insurance isn’t covering that bill as you expected.

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Blog Post

Cancer prevention means no more toxic cosmetics | Gina Werdel

Cancer devastates millions of American families every year. While not all cancer cases are preventable, February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and it’s time we start a conversation about eliminating the many cancer-linked chemicals in our cosmetic and personal care products.

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

NURSING HOMES STILL DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MASKS, GOWNS, OTHER PPE

A new analysis by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group found that 8 percent of nursing homes nationwide as of Dec. 27 had a critical shortage of surgical-grade N95 masks, which are the best protection against spreading the virus. Additionally, 4 to 6 percent of nursing homes reported shortages in at least one other category of personal protective equipment.

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

Boeing Max planes have ‘optional’ safety mechanisms

Newly-revealed details by the New York Times about of the crash of two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes may stun even the most hardened observer. The planes lacked a safety feature that may have warned pilots about problems because it was not required and Boeing charged airlines extra to include it. Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Consumer Watchdog issued the following statement.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | Public Health

Popular weed killer found in top beer and wine brands

Many beers and wines sold in the U.S. contain the weed killer glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, according to a new report by CoPIRG Foundation. In Bottoms Up: Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine, CoPIRG Foundation tested 20 beers, wines and hard cider, including several organic brands, for glyphosate/Roundup and found that all but one contained the harmful chemical.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation and the Financial Equity Coalition | Consumer Protection

Prohibition on triple-digit payday loan rates goes into effect Feb 1st

Tomorrow, Colorado joins fifteen other states and the District of Columbia in stopping predatory payday lenders from charging Coloradans triple-digit rates to borrow small loans of $500 or less. Starting February 1st, payday loan companies can no longer charge interest and fees that add up to over 200% APR but must abide by Colorado’s usury cap of 36%. The change comes after 77% of voters passed Proposition 111 in November, ending an era of predatory payday lending practices that targeted low-income borrowers, veterans, and communities of color. Coloradans will save an expected $50 million per year in payday loan fees.

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News Release | Denver Streets Partnership | Transportation

Denver Earns “C“ on 2018 Progress Toward Safe Streets Goals

A new progress report card released by safety advocates with the Denver Streets Partnership awarded Denver an overall “C“ grade for the City and County of Denver’s progress on the Vision Zero Action Plan designed to improve the safety of Denver’s streets. The progress report card looked at Denver’s 2018 infrastructure goals in eight categories and found that, while Denver met its goals for miles of bike lanes constructed and operational improvements at major intersections, it failed to meet its goals for sidewalks constructed, traffic calming work, and street lighting enhancements.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

New report: Food recalls increased 10 percent since 2013

From E. coli-infected romaine lettuce to Salmonella-tainted beef, contaminated foods lead to illnesses that sicken as many as 1 in 6 Americans annually. In 2018, this epidemic helped spur major recalls, which caused stores and restaurants to toss millions of pounds of meat and produce.  CoPIRG Foundation’s new report How Safe is Our Food?, released today, reveals how fundamental flaws in our current food safety system have led to a jump in these recalls since 2013.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Democracy

Million-Dollar Megaphones

Outside spending by organizations that aggregate unlimited contributions from wealthy individuals and institutions is playing a significant role in the 2012 election cycle, and much of it is not disclosed.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Tax

Apples to Twinkies 2012

At a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic, crushing debt and a weak economy, billions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing junk food ingredients.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation

An Analysis of Colorado's Landmark Energy Efficiency Bill 5 Years Later

As a result of the utilities’ efforts, households and businesses reduced their electricity use in 2011 by over 800 million kWh per year, equivalent to the electricity use of 100,000 typical households.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Financial Reform

Ten Reasons Why We Need the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now

This report outlines predatory financial practices that hurt consumers and helped collapse the economy, costing us eight million jobs, millions of foreclosed homes and trillions of dollars in lost home and retirement values. It explains these and other emerging problems as “10 Reasons We Need The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now.”

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Tax

Picking Up the Tab

Some U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals avoid paying U.S. taxes by transferring their earnings to tax haven countries with minimal or no taxes. These tax haven users benefit from their access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security; but they pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system and forcing other taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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Blog Post | COVID-19

Superspreading events pose outsized risk of COVID-19 transmission | Abe Scarr

Public health experts are starting to draw actionable lessons about the nature of how COVID-19 spreads. In addition to maintaining best practices –physical distancing, mask wearing and hand washing – it’s best to avoid extended, crowded indoor gatherings.

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Blog Post | Transportation

CDOT steps up to improve safety on urban main streets | Danny Katz

Five percent of the roads in the City and County of Denver account for fifty percent of the fatalities. These roads are often referred to as the High Injury Network and they are primarily arterials – the larger roads that cut across Denver. Think Federal, Colorado, and Colfax. Last week, CDOT stepped up to focus dollars on safety and multimodal improvements on them. 

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Blog Post | Solid Waste

Reopening without increasing unnecessary single-use waste | Danny Katz

This week, a coalition of zero waste advocates sent a letter to Governor Polis outlining our recommendations for reopening restaurants and retail stores without unnecessarily increasing the use of single-use products. As the letter states – “It’s a false choice to have to choose between reducing unnecessary waste and protecting our residents and employees from COVID-19.”

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Blog Post

Xcel's transportation electrification plan is coming and its important | Allison Conwell

This Friday, Xcel Energy, the largest energy utility in Colorado, will release its Transportation Electrification Plan. This is a big deal and I've got some recommedations to make sure we maximize the environmental and consumer benefits. 

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Blog Post | COVID-19

U.S. PIRG Supports Automated Contact Tracing Because More Than Anything Else, America Needs Good Information Before It Can Safely Lift Stay-At-Home Rules | Ed Mierzwinski

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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Blog Post

Advance directives are legal instructions that include a living will (different from a regular will) and a health care proxy. In them, you state what treatments you do or don’t want at the end of your life and who you want making health care decisions for you if you can’t. 

Blog Post

Following a summer of record ozone pollution days in Colorado, school districts share the stories about how the first electric school buses found their way to the roads  in Boulder and Kremmling.  I joined experts from those districts as well as Mothers Out Front to highlight the health and climate impacts of diesel school buses, and how electric school buses are the path forward.

News Release | US PIRG Education Fund

The current shortage of used cars on the market -- and correlated increased prices -- could make consumers more desperate and vulnerable to falling for a bad deal.

Blog Post

With the overwhelming number of reviews found both on website listings and social media, we pulled together the best tips to spot fake reviews when shopping online.

Blog Post

As emissions from gas-powered vehicles pollute our air and warm our planet, cities and counties are leading the way to a cleaner transportation future in Colorado. I joined experts from five GoEV Cities and Counties to highlight strategic policies driving them towards a 100% electric-powered transportation reality. 

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