Environment

Plastics And The Environment

May 9, 2014
NOAA PIFSC CRED

Plastics have become a huge part of our lives, whether in the form of bottles, bags, or packaging. The hope is that these items are reused or recycled, but recycling programs can be expensive, and many items end up in landfills or, worse, in our waterways. Our guests today are working to educate people on what happens to plastics. We meet a representative from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, an artist who uses plastic debris to create environmental art, and a local sustainability officer.

New Species Move To Mecklenburg

Apr 4, 2014
JK Killia (left) Jim deVries (right) / 2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report

Mecklenburg County has some new residents. Animals not native to the county have moved in over the past couple of decades. One possible reason is climate change.


CharMeck.org

Every two years Mecklenburg County does an environmental assessment and delivers an environmental report card of sorts. The report card for the last two years has just been released and we’ll meet with two officials to see how our region fared in Air, Land, Water and Waste use and efficiency. In most aspects the county has fared well but the recession did have an impact in some areas. We’ll find out which ones, what aspects of our environment passed with flying colors and what has room for improvement. We check the county’s environmental grade.

PCB Worries Put SC Sludge Fertilizer On Hold

Oct 3, 2013
Betsy Hill/Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department

There's a lot of sludge in South Carolina that's destined for landfills. That's because the sludge produced from some wastewater treatment plants has tested positive for PCBs.

When we first met Carbon Nation director Peter Byck last year, we learned about his cross country journey to meet people who were trying to reduce their carbon footprint whether they believed in global warming or not. He'll join us again on the next Charlotte Talks to talk about why getting the message out about climate change is still such a challenge and about initiatives being made by companies around the country (some that might come as a surprise to you!) to change the way we think about energy and the environment.

Duke Energy

Duke’s Edwardsport plant in Indiana is a “coal gasification” plant, meaning the coal gets turned into a gas and some of the pollutants get filtered out, before moving into the turbine.  Company spokesman Chad Eaton says it is the most efficient coal plant in the country, since opening this summer. But, even it would surpass the limit the EPA announced today on the amount of emissions new coal power plants will be able to release.

Jay Leutze was living a quiet life in the Appalachian mountains when he began hearing chain saws and trees falling on the other side of the valley. Jay discovered that a local business man, Paul Brown, was planning to create a massive surface gravel mine on Bellevue Mountain. The facility would blast and crush stone 24 hours a day. A permit had been issued without a single public hearing, a necessary procedural requirement. But Leutze wasn’t sure anything could be done, until he got a call from his 14 year old neighbor. That phone call led him down a five year journey to justice, trying to save the mountain and preserve the landscape for future generations. A conversation about saving a mountain, when Charlotte Talks.

Part One: Old Salem. Just as our country was being forged in the halls of the Continental Congress and birthed in the Revolutionary war, a group of hardy Moravian immigrants was building a settlement in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The town of Salem sprang up and still remains just outside of Winston-Salem. Today it is a living museum, a window into some of the earliest founders of our state. We'’ll visit with the President of Old Salem Inc., a company devoted to the settlement and to educating North Carolinians and other visitors on life in colonial North Carolina. Follow us back in time when Charlotte Talks.

The world’s thirst for more energy has led us down the path to climate change. Some politicians have said that alternatives to fossil fuels may help us reverse that, but the problem is that alternative forms of energy aren't ready on the scale we need. And recently scientists at UNC Charlotte came to an even more alarming conclusion, that the problem is unsolvable. Two of the people working on that project talk about their troubling conclusion, when Charlotte Talks.

Blue Ridge Mountains
Ed Brown (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We have discussed climate change many times on Charlotte Talks but there is a new science emerging in the study of our changing climate. Social scientists are being called upon more and more to study climate's effect on human culture. Entire societies are changing their traditions, the media is covering the issue differently and lawmakers are shaping policy based on our perception to climate change. One local social scientist has discovered fascinating social changes among native Alaskans. He'll share how those changes could affect policy here in our own region. (Note: This show was pre-recorded last week.)

DoYourPart.com

Well-known former TV meteorologist Terri Bennett has traded the camera and studio for the betterment of the environment, with the founding of her company, called Do Your Part. She's the author of a book by the same name, and in it, gives practical tips that she says help "to remove the roadblocks that currently prevent many Americans from taking steps toward adopting more sustainable lifestyles."  She'll share her expertise with us, and will give us some tips on how to reduce our eco-footprint. (Originally Aired 9/13/2011)

Part One: Old Salem. Just as our country was being forged in the halls of the Continental Congress and birthed in the Revolutionary war, a group of hardy Moravian immigrants was building a settlement in the Piedmont of North Carolina. The town of Salem sprang up and still remains just outside of Winston-Salem. Today it is a living museum, a window into some of the earliest founders of our state. We’ll visit with the President of Old Salem Inc., a company devoted to the settlement and to educating North Carolinians and other visitors on life in colonial North Carolina. Follow us back in time when Charlotte Talks.

Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy, Inc.

Nuclear power continues to be a hot topic when it comes to America's energy future but a new invention could change the entire landscape for nuclear power, or so they the supports of the SMR or Small Modular Reactor. These mini power plants could soon be installed all over the country fueling skyscrapers, neighborhoods and manufacturing plants. Supporters say they are safe, scalable and can be built quickly but those who watch the nuclear industry says that much more research needs to be done before small reactors dot our cities and states. A company on the forefront of this new technology is right in our backyard and we'll hear from them and others on this new plan to power America when Charlotte Talks.

The head of a panel writing rules for natural gas fracking in North Carolina says state standards should prevail over local rules when it comes to regulating the practice.  The remarks by Jim Womack came as a study group of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission met Friday in Pittsboro.

Womack, the commission chair and a Lee County commissioner, said local governments should have to make a case for why their rules should be more stringent than any state standards,  The Fayetteville Observer reports.

When we think of climate change, we often think the consequences are far off. But doctors and scientists believe it is harming our health now and it will only get worse. Some of the climate's harmful effects to our health can be obvious - extreme weather events and increased temperatures. But many are less so, think asthma and allergies, even food and water borne diseases, on up to cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer. How does climate impact our health and what can we do about it? We'll talk with people involved in educating the public about the risks of the changing climate to our health, including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We have discussed global warming and how we can reduce our carbon footprint several times on this show but we generally focused on the debate about whether climate change is real and man-made. Our guest today, film director Peter Byck, decided to forget the debate. He simply traveled the country to meet people who were actively reducing their carbon footprint whether they believed in global warming or not. These people just think it’'s smarter to use less energy or to create it more efficiently. Byck sees these innovators and entrepreneurs as part of “Carbon Nation” and he made a film by the same name. He'’ll join us when Charlotte Talks.

NASA

We have visited Mars several times in the past but perhaps no mission to the Red planet is as ambitious as the one underway right now. After months of interplanetary flight and a flawless landing, Mars Rover Curiosity has already begun to explore the planet’s surface. The aim of the mission; find signs of life on Mars. We’ll meet one of the principal members of the mission’s team, geobiologist Dawn Sumner, as we continue our geology conference series when Charlotte Talks.

NASA

One of the issues we’ve heard little about during this election campaign is climate change. But Hurricane Sandy has thrust the topic into the spotlight. It is a complex, challenging problem both scientifically and politically but on election day, we step away from the politics and focus on how scientists are communicating with those who make public policy to help them and citizens understand what is happening and the potential consequences.

Flickr/go_greener_oz

Sea levels all over the east coast are rising. There is generally no dispute about that. But there is much debate about how high our Atlantic sea levels will rise, how fast it will happen and what affect it will have on our coast and the eastern seaboard. We begin a series exploring the biggest geological and geopolitical topics in current times. First up, Dr. Rob Young, an expert on sea levels who says that current predictions could be far short of potential rising seas. We meet Dr. Young and learn more about rising sea levels when Charlotte Talks.

Native American Trail Trees (Rebroadcast)

Oct 1, 2012

It has been hundreds of years since the intersection of Trade and Tryon was a place where two Native American trading paths crossed but signs of that ancient network of tribal travel and culture are all around us. Right now, two men, among others, are in the midst of mapping the main travel routes of the Cherokees and other tribes as well as the guideposts they used. Many of the guideposts are trees and we'll learn about efforts to preserve them.

Pages