We’re the Public Interest Research Groups, or PIRG. For almost 50 years we’ve tackled some of the country's biggest problems, problems we shouldn’t tolerate in an age of great abundance and technological progress.
PIRG’s role is to find common ground around commonsense solutions to these problems.
Here’s one example: Most of the country’s antibiotics are being used on farm animals, and are routinely given to animals that aren’t even sick. This misuse of lifesaving medicines has become common practice on factory farms to keep costs down, but it also increases the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Drug-resistant infections are a leading cause of death in the U.S., killing tens of thousands of people each year, and some public health officials are even saying infections like these could be our next pandemic. PIRG is working to stop the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture. In 2018, we secured a commitment from McDonald’s to reduce medically important antibiotic use in its beef supply. Wendy’s followed suit in 2021. Now we’re working to make sure these companies keep to their commitments, while also calling on more of the country’s biggest restaurants to stop purchasing meat from animals that are routinely given antibiotics, and advocating for new state laws and federal policies that will prevent this misuse on factory farms.
Here’s another: When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, PIRG responded to the crisis by assembling a team of policy experts, state advocates, organizers and researchers to call on our government for a more urgent, more strategic and better-coordinated response. We advocated for a comprehensive testing plan and centralized distribution of lifesaving medical supplies, while educating consumers about price gouging and false coronavirus cures.
Here’s another: Every day, people throw away tons of plastic “stuff” — foam cups, takeout containers, plastic bags, straws, drink bottles and more. These things were made to be used for a few moments, but end up polluting the planet and threatening our health for hundreds of years. It’s time to move beyond plastic, starting with banning the single-use plastic items we can easily live without.
When we tackle problems like these, we almost always encounter special interests trying to block progress or maintain the status quo. To overcome that opposition, and make sure our solutions stick, we have to win a lot of people over to our side. To do that, we have to bring people together in ways that get beyond political labels; we have to find common ground and use that to generate broad support.
That’s exactly what we’re doing right now with our campaign to convince Whole Foods to get wasteful single-use plastic packaging off its shelves. We’ve helped spearhead an effort that has seen more than 59,000 citizen advocates and dozens of state lawmakers call on Whole Foods to reduce its plastic waste. And we’re taking our message door-to-door in communities across the country, organizing support for this and other crucial campaigns to move our country beyond plastic.
Our approach works — we have a 45-year track record of success.
For example, take our work reducing air pollution. Even with huge opposition from utilities, car manufacturers and fossil fuel interests, we've won laws and policies which continue to save lives by limiting air pollution from power plants, cars and other sources. In fact, deaths from air pollution dropped nearly in half between 1990 and 2010. And because of other progress we’ve won, people are recycling more and wasting less, buying healthier and safer products, getting a better deal on everything from credit card fees to student loans to cell phone plans, driving cleaner and safer cars, drinking cleaner water, and living longer, healthier lives.
But anyone who follows current events or the news can see that there’s a lot more work to do, and more change we need to make happen.
If you decide to apply for a job with us, you should be ready to roll up your sleeves and do what it takes to run your own campaign. But you'll also be trained by and work alongside a great team of advocates, researchers, policy experts and communications specialists, working together to win real results. Does this sound like a good fit for you? Apply now.
If you’re interested in learning more about PIRG, fill out this form and we’ll send you additional information, and link you to our online application.