Climate Champ–Kristal Hansley, PureEarth.Org., Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

by | Aug 26, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Climate Champion, Kristal Hansley, plus PureEarth.Org. And 

Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative



So who is this remarkable young woman, Kristal Hansley, and what compelled her to become the first Black, female CEO of an American community solar energy company, WeSolar?  

She shared an origin story recently with Bloomberg Green: The indifference of middle-aged, White car salesmen gave Kristal Hansley her start in green energy. She had just finished a stint on Capitol Hill in the summer of 2017, when she started working at a Chevy dealership outside of Baltimore. She was the only Black woman on the showroom floor. Her coworkers, mostly White men, were more interested in selling Corvettes and Silverados than the electric vehicles on show. So Hansley carved out a niche selling Bolts and Volts, making a dozen sales of the electric models every month. 

“It was a key moment,” Hansley says. “I got a front row seat of who gets to benefit from green rebates and other incentives. Mainly wealthier people.” BTW, that “stint” on Capitol Hill was actually leading the Community Affairs policy at Congresswoman Eleanor Norton’s office. While there, she witnessed the state of Maryland pass new laws to increase the use of solar energy across the state. 

She put two and two together. Said Hansley in an email interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, “I saw how effectively solar could reduce the cost of electricity for households, and decided to get involved in the emerging world of community solar.” 

DEEPER DIVE: Bloomberg Green, Black Enterprise, Grist, AfroTech


Just a quick coda to yesterday’s very special edition of The Climate Daily, spotlighting the city of Ithaca, New York. Ithaca is part of New York State’s Tompkins County. Back in 2008, it formed the  Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative.

Established in 2008, it’s a clean energy coalition of local community leaders who are committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, greater energy efficiency, and the adoption of renewable energy. TCCPI has four major goals:

  1. Facilitate implementation of a common strategy, target, and timetable for achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the County and City of Ithaca.
  2. Create a peer-to-peer mentoring network that provides mutual support among the participants in addressing the problems and challenges involved in meeting the climate goals of the County and City.
  3. Support development of the tools necessary for the community to monitor its progress through effective data collection and analysis, thus promoting transparency and accountability.

Makes you wonder why every other county in NY State and the other 49 STATES haven’t caught up yet?




Founded in 1999, Pure Earth is a New York City-based international not-for-profit organization that works to identify, clean up, and solve pollution problems in low- and middle-income countries, where high concentrations of toxic pollution have devastating health impacts, especially on children.

Why report about a non-profit dedicated to identifying and solving pollution problems in low and middle income countries where high concentrations of toxic pollution have devastating impacts, especially on children? Because of climate change. Toxic pollution contributes to climate change in two ways. With toxic water pollution, chemicals kill off marine life, which lessens biodiversity, which the planet requires to be healthy and stave off the negative effects of humans. Toxic air pollution is most often some type of GHG, which is the reason for climate change. So by Pure Earth fighting for the children, it’s also fighting for well, a pure Earth. 

It’s simple, like their mission: Reduce pollution. Save lives. Protect the planet. The folks at Pure Earth do that through their global projects, Toxic Sites Identification program and a global mercury program, too. Since 1999, Pure Earth has completed 110 pilot projects in 27 countries, impacting 4.2 million lives. In addition, Pure Earth spearheaded a landmark pollution report published in 2017 in the world-renowned medical journal, The Lancet, which released new data on the health and economic impacts of pollution as well as the solutions.

DEEPER DIVE: PureEarth, Daily Star, Best Magazine