Charlotte Talks on WFAE

Weekdays at 9:00 a.m. and Mon-Thurs at 9:00 p.m.
  • Hosted by Mike Collins

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The Slow Food movement argues that the concept of fast food is a symbol of what’s wrong with the world today- centralization, top-down homogeneity, mass produced… and that we should embrace Local. Our guest today says that same philosophy should be applied to government. With government mistrust and low approval ratings for members of Congress at a near all-time high, Susan Clark, author of Slow Democracy, says we should pay attention our local government. Clark’s book outlines several guidelines designed to reinvigorate local democracy, and make local government relevant, citizen powered, and inclusive. We'll explore Slow Democracy and a future more focused on the local.

World renowned landscape architect W. Gary Smith designs gardens and landscapes that celebrate the relationship between people and plants. He’s designed and implemented major botanical gardens and outdoor centers all over North America, and his latest project brings him to the Charlotte region. He’s designing a major children’s garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden called 'The Lost Hollow' in a medieval theme. W. Gary Smith joins us to talk about landscape architecture and gardening on a large scale and we’ll find out how you can bring some of the principles he applies to his work to your garden.

Duke Energy

The recent coal ash spill at the Dan River Power Plant dumped approximately 40,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River. Coal ash is both unregulated and NOT classified as a hazardous material. But it contains things like arsenic, cadmium and chromium. The river is a source of drinking water and of tourism business. But Duke says the drinking water is safe, while Danville residents say they’ve seen dead turtles on the banks of the river. So what’s really going on? How will the Dan River recover? And what consequences will Duke face? We examine all of these issues and more around the coal ash spill.

Part One: Soledad O'Brien on 'Black in America.' Soledad O'Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian and author. You may remember her as an anchor for CNN, she also does work for Al Jazeera, HBO and National Geographic. She is responsible for CNN's 'Black in America' documentary series, which is intended to be a conversation starter about race in America. Now she's taking that conversation on the road in the form of a town hall and she's bringing it to Charlotte. As a person of mixed race, with a black Afro-Cuban mother and white Australian father of Irish descent, she has faced complicated questions about race herself, on camera and off. She has often had to answer questions like, "what are you?" Ahead of her 'Black in America Town Hall' tonight at Knight Theatre, Soledad O'Brien joins us to share her story and discuss the challenging and often divisive issues of race, class, opportunity and social change.

By all accounts, Dr. Benjamin Chavis is a North Carolina legacy. The civil rights leader was not only on the forefront of civil rights protests in the state as a student at UNC Charlotte but he went on to serve in national leadership roles for the NAACP, the Million Man March and more. In 2010 a major feature film was made in North Carolina titled Blood Done Sign My Name. Dr. Chavis’ life and career was a focus of the film. Dr. Chavis returns to UNC Charlotte for a slate of events, including a screening of the film. He’ll share highlights of his career and discuss civil rights in our time.

Not everything can be cured with a pill. At least, that’s what we've been finding out in recent years. A new movement has started: the whole health movement. This wave of education and awareness brings with it the encouragement of individuals taking more control of their own health. And how do they do this? Through a plethora of activities and choices like eating less meat, practicing yoga, drinking tea and integrating more preventative measures into their daily routines. Some call this alternative or integrative medicine, but what is integrative medicine? Where did it begin? A conversation about health and integrative medicine, in an encore presentation of Charlotte Talks. Originally Aired March 28, 2013.

We all have habits - some good, some bad, some we try to break, others we try to create. Habits have such a big impact on our lives, shouldn’t we better understand why we do what we do? New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg has studied the Power of Habit; why habits exist and how they can be changed. He shares some fascinating observations in an encore presentation of Charlotte Talks. Originally Aired 1/9/2013.

NextGen Air Transportation Center

North Carolina is the birthplace of flight. Now some people want to get in on some more recent technology - unmanned aircraft - drones. They range in size from a kid's toy to a bus-sized military aircraft and have a broad range of uses - from law enforcement and military to agriculture, journalism, and maybe even deliveries from Amazon. But as promising at the technology is, it has some privacy advocates concerned that it could open the door to unconstitutional surveillance. While the FAA develops rules over unmanned aircraft and the North Carolina legislature weighs privacy concerns, we take a closer look at drones, their applications - both public and commercial, and the safety, privacy, ethical and legal implications for unmanned flying machines.

Valentine's Day is coming up and that means that men will be scrambling for the traditional gifts of roses and chocolate. A lot of chocolate. Tons and tons. Valentine’s Day is one of several holidays that has become synonymous with millions of dollars in candy sales. But candy is a huge part of our culture all year round. Confectioners sell $25 Billion worth of candy, use billions of pounds of ingredients and employ tens of thousands of workers each year. The Confectioner industry is also dominated by small and, often, family owned business. Beyond the numbers there is an intense relationship between American consumers and their candy. A relationship that impacts healthcare, the economy, and more. It’s a sweet edition of Charlotte Talks.

There’s a figure in African American history that we don’t hear about very much-- during Black History month, or any other time of the year-- who has had a major impact on thousands and thousands of African Americans across the country- Prince Hall. He’s known as the father of Black Masonry in the United States. We've heard a lot about the Masons, and the philanthropic works and perceived mystery surrounding that organization, but there’s another group of Masons who formed around the time of the American Revolution, and have maintained a separate, parallel organization through the many years of segregation in America. Prince Hall Masons, as they are known today, still thrive throughout the U.S., boasting numbers of about 10,000 members across North Carolina alone. We'll talk about Prince Hall the person, the origin of Prince Hall Masons, and why the two Masonic groups -- both proud of their own group's heritage -- still continue mostly as separate organizations.