Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mindless Idealism Causes Global Warming

Walden School is going green, according to an article in today's Journal Times. Students are getting involved, raising money for solar panels that will cost $232,000 and bring in annual revenue of $4,000. The "profits" will be used to "fund other projects, like improving the old windows..."

I hope the teachers at Walden will not let their zeal for environmentalism distract them from teaching core subjects like math. This project presents a unique learning opportunity for Walden students.

$4,000 divided by $232,000 = .0172413, or 1.7%.
$232,000 divided by $4,000 = 58.

The Walden project will earn an annual on return on investment of 1.7% and it would take 58 years to pay off the project and begin to profit from it.

Now suppose the Walden administration and students really wanted to replace those drafty, inefficient windows. Suppose they considered alternative uses for the $232,000. Lets say they found a bank willing to offer a 3.45% (double the return on the solar panels) annual return on the $232,000. They would have an annual return of $8,000 instead of $4,000. Using this conservative example, the cost of the mindless idealism being taught at Walden would be $4,000 per year.

But it is worse than that actually. Instead of placing solar panels on their roof, they could instead replace the windows. I suspect that they could save over $4,000 annually on reduced heating and cooling costs. And Walden is likely heated and cooled by using electricity, which is produced by burning coal, which we all know pollutes the air and causes global warming.

I wish the students at Walden would stop destroying our earth.


pariah jeep said...

I ask these questions about the wind farms many people want. At a quarter of a million dollars each for some of them, how much energy is used in their manufacture THEN how long are they bird blenders before there is actual revenue?

Anonymous said...

You shoudl investigate a bit more before tryin to tear down thhe efforts of these kids.

The 4k refers just to the buy back of excess power from the power company, thuis is in addition to ongoing pwer savings for the school, and the educational value of having our kids work togther towards a common goal.

But I do guess its easier to sit on the sidelines and criticize...

Anonymous said...

If you have not been following science lately, global warming is proceding MUCH faster than predicted...a grave cause for concern. Ideology leads us to pollute other nations with our old computer parts? (lead in monitors - metals which leach into the watertable - arsenic).

Mike said...

I am a student at Walden, and I can not believe the way you have completely disregarded what is actually going on at my school.

For one thing, our solar panels do not cost $232,000. They cost approximately $140,000. This money is being raised from grants that we have applied for with the help of many people from the community. We have already raised $87,000 in grants from Focus on Energy, WE Energies, and about $5,000 in our own fund raising through selling energy efficient light bulbs, t-shirts, buttons, and a silent auction. These combined efforts put us at $92,000. We have also applied for a grant from SC Johnson Fund worth $30,000, which will put us very close to our goal of $140,000. We hope to raise the remaining $18,000 through more grassroots fund raising and having a solar panel sponsorship system in which a company could sponsor a solar panel for $1,000. As you can see, we are not just a group of "mindless idealists". We have a plan, and, so far, it has worked.

We are not concerned about money. We are concerned about the environment and about keeping our school where it belongs. You imply that since our energy comes from coal power plants, we are being hypocritical. The flaw in your logic is that the way we are getting money back from the panels is through a buy-back program, in which we sell out energy back for TWICE THE PRICE that the energy company sells it for. This essentially makes us a small power plant, which means that a small portion of the energy used throughout the city will be derived from our solar panels.

Maybe now you should consider revising your article so that it is factually correct.

Anonymous said...

"...We are not concerned about money. We are concerned about the environment..."
That is an interesting approach.
And I bet you didn't use money to acquire your iPod.

Mike said...

That is completely irrelevant.
I'm afraid I don't see your point.

Mike said...

P.S. You said that this project would take 58 years to pay for it self. This is another flaw in your article. By my estimates, Walden students will only need to raise about $10,000 through things like silent auctions and fund raising. Therefore, this project will pay for itself in less than 3 years. We collect money on the solar panels for 10 years. This means that there will be 7 years, or $28,000, in pure profits for us to fix our school.

You also suggested that we just fix the windows. The issue here is that there are no grants for "Drafty Window Fix-Up Projects". When we receive the money from these grants, they have to go towards solar panels. RUSD will not give us any money to fix our school, because, for one thing, they don't even want us to be in our building. Also, they have bigger problems to fix at bigger school with larger student populations.

We also have more problems than just drafty windows. The older part of the school contains lead paint, insecure doors, poor plumbing, and probably asbestos. We do not have a modern heating system. We have iron boilers that are probably relatively efficient, but the poor insulation takes away from that.

If we can install the panels, we could use the profit from them to go towards fixing these projects, which would make our school more energy efficient, and in the long run, save us money.

Anonymous said...

Dennis-I am a twelve-year old Walden student, and even I can read better than you can. I know the difference between "remainder of" and "remaining". Before you start criticizing the hard work that other people do, you should know what you are talking about. For one, where did you get your numbers? 232,000 dollars is more than 80,000 dollars off the actual price of 140,000 dollars, making all of your numbers completely useless. Also, why would companies give us grants for putting money in a bank? These panels will last more than 30 years and also reduce the tax money needed to provide electricity for the school after the first ten years. Even you can see the benefit of this.

So now, I would like you to explain how Walden is destroying the earth. Just one of our fundraisers, selling compact fluorescent light bulbs, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by over one and a half million pounds. Also, remind me how many killowatts of electricity your store, Dimples, produces. Oh, right; it sucks up as much dirty coal power as any other store. If you want to criticize other places for not doing enough for the earth, maybe you could do something yourself.

alex said...

Walden students are not the problem with our city. Ignorant fools like Denis Navratil are. if Denis would have done his research, he would have noticed that Walden does a great deal for our community. We participate in food drives, raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation, give out energy efficient light bulbs to our neighbors, and participate in community projects around our town. the Walden green school project is just one more thing that can be added on to that list.

As mike pointed out, the solar panels would certainly pay off for our school and community. whereas, people like denis, who sit and criticize while doing absolutely nothing, only makes things worse.

Walden students and staff are proud of our accomplishments and will not apologize for trying to make our community a more pleasant place to live.

- Alex Weyenberg
proud Walden III student

Rachel said...


Like mike, Alex and anonymous, I am also a proud Walden student.

"I hope the teachers at Walden will not let their zeal for environmentalism distract them from teaching core subjects like math."

First of all, the Green School Project is an optional activity students participate in along with their core classes and any other extracurricular activities.

Secondly, not all of the teachers are “zealously” involved in the program; any faculty (or student) participation is purely voluntary.

Thirdly, maybe your teachers were distracted from teaching their core subjects, seeing as how you don't seem to know the difference between "remainder of" and "remaining", which was pointed out by a 12-year-old.

Also, I'd appreciate it immensely if before deciding to open your mouth, or rather, a webpage, you'd do some research on the subject you plan on discussing. I realize as a Racine County resident you pay property taxes and therefore have a vested interest in the accomplishments of the RUSD schools, or as you seem to see it, the failures.

While some private schools use community service and involvement as a way of securing tuition, it is truly a belief and way of life at Walden. Unfortunately, the positive things RUSD students accomplish are rarely celebrated, therefore generating negative impressions of the students, as you have demonstrated. Other than community contribution, Walden must also be doing something others aren’t in educating Racine’s youth. The Walden US Academic Decathlon team took first place at the recent local competition, beating out all other schools in the area, including some Kenosha and Illinois schools.

Rachel Pettit
proud Walden III sophomore

Adam said...

Dennis-Why don't you just admit that you're wrong, you don't have to sulk all day.

Adam R. Walden III student
(previously anonymous)

Debra, proud mother of Alex,Walden student said...

Denis, you may want to take a moment and think of how many Walden students spend money in your store on a daily basis. In a time when RUSD is receiving quite alot of negative press, it is refreshing to see students and staff at Walden engaged in yet another community and global endeaver. I am convinced that Walden is one of the most under- recognized, under-appreciated, exceptional learning environments that RUSD has to offer Racine and the state!I am very impressed with the students and staff. Keep up the amazing work. Students, you may however want to consider doing your Downtown shopping at other stores where you are more respected and appreciated!As for you Denis, I suggest you get a life and a clue!

Anonymous said...

Go Walden students!! Be proud as you have thoroughly and successfully made Denis put his foot in his mouth. His non-sensical personal rantings, along with your collective, permanent boycott, will put his fake import shop out of business.

Lizzie-Proud Walden Junior said...

It seems to me that my fellow Walden attendees, including that 12year-old, and others have covered the flaws in your statement that I myself was going to point out. All that's left for me to say is this: You've taken a complete positive and shamelessly twisted and warped it to look like a negative. Perhaps you have something against the earth or young people trying to make a difference, or maybe you truly are this ignorant. I don't know which of those is more heart-breaking. Next time, take the extra five minutes to do some research and remember that even though this is just one man's opinion, a multitude of people could come across this inaccuracy. And before you judge, ask yourself who we're hurting. If the Green School's actions have really offended you, maybe you should get out there and put forth some of your own effort to make up for the things we aren't doing. After all you seem like such a motivated, stand-up environmentalist.

Lizze said...

P.S. I was thinking that this sounds an awful lot like you have a personal vendetta. Perhaps this hot air is being blown because of the well-known Walden boycott of Dimples?

Anonymous said...

My God, if I only had Denis in my sociology class!!!

I hate to interrupt the onanistic love Walden students for themselves, but…

Window treatments do not fill a youth with contented self-righteousness as does environmentalism. My peers have precious delusions of saving the world and you are very derisive to nullify them with some statistical fact. Don’t you know that no true Walden student is concerned with such pecuniary and superficial matters as cost when “the planet is in peril?” (Sociology teacher) Perhaps, you, as a capitalist Caucasian male, take umbrage at young people trying to change the world or at our Mother Earth? We don’t care about money at Walden, just romanticism.
Even IF the solar panels pull in a profit after 58 years of flawless use and no maintenance cost, the expenditures would have been paid by the sweat of the taxpayer, as $87,000 are in the form of state grants. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is wrong, even if the Paul just wants to save the polar bears. It is for this reason that I oppose Green School and will continue to lose student government elections.
If I had $92,000, I would invest in the stock market. But stock dividends don’t fill people with a fuzzy complacency as does the ardor of environmentalism.


Anonymous said...

Walden boycott?

That's childish, vindictive and ineffectual at the same time. Didn't anyone just think of throwing sand in his face?

What could have prompted this boycott? Surely a man's personal viewpoint has nothing to do with it.


Lizzie said...

Sam, you seem like a smart kid. However, it seems you, like Denis, didn't actually do research. It won't take 58 years, it'll take around 3, after that is pure walden profit. You can say we're idealists al you want, but again, Green School hurts no one, and even if it only helps a little bit, at least we're doing something.

Lizzie said...

Also, for some reason it seems impossible for you to believe that there are people out there that are good, people that want to help just for the sake of helping, not because it gives them moral supremacy.

alex said...

"If I had $92,000, I would invest in the stock market."

how like a right wing capitalist to put the almighty dollar before his planet and fellow man. yes certainly stocks will save us all. how did we not think of this before.

it saddens me to see a person of your intellect being sucked in by the FALSE fuzzy (as you would say) sense of security of something that isn't real. stocks won't help our planet's desperate situation. have fun explaining to your offspring that, instead of investing in our planet's future, you decided to waste your intelligence playing the stock market. Then you can strap them up in their rubber suits, hand them their gas masks, and send them outside to play a fun game four square. after all, it is the American dream.

Michael Gibson said...

Plus, Walden obviously can not invest in the stock market. What we can do is invest in the future of our school and planet. Without a planet to live on, there is no stock market.

Denis Navratil said...

anon 5:59, I have no problem with the effort of the Walden students. I am merely questioning the value of the effort. Isn't it wise to consider all the potential uses for the money to get the best environmental bang for the buck?

Anon 9:24, what "science" are you referring to and please describe the ideology that "leads us to pollute other nations with our computer parts"?

Mike, I can't dispute your facts as I only know what was printed in the JT. But I have some questions. Why would anyone buy energy at twice the price that the energy company sells it for? And will they buy some from me? I could buy energy from WE Energies and then sell it for twice what I bought it for. That would be great.

12 year old anon, I reread my post and did not use the words "remainder of" or "remaining" so I don't know what it is you are referring to. The part about Walden destroying the earth was a lighthearted joke 12 year old anon. Someday you will understand.

Alex, congratulations on having the courage to use your real name. Unlike your cohorts here, I would not use that information to punish you in any way. I can respect that about you. But the name calling (ignorant fool) should stop for a few reasons. It is not an effective rhetorical device and is understood by most as evidence of a week argument. Secondly, and most importantly, you should have respect for people older than you. Note that this does not mean that you need to agree with them.

Rachel, you also should learn a little respect. But besides that, I can appreciate the use of your real name. Your comments seem to suggest that I have no appreciation for the good things that are happening at Walden. Actually, I have noticed the high test scores that students have been achieving.

Adam R, I should admit I am wrong just because several angry students say I am. Prove it and I will admit to being wrong. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong.

debra, proud mother of Alex writes "you may want to take a moment and think of how many Walden students spend money in your store on a daily basis." Actually Debra, I engage in political activity and discussion with zero regard for business. I consider them seperate activities even if you and others don't. I take my responsibilities as a citizen quite seriously and I will not be silenced for the almighty dollar. Suppose your son (daughter?) Alex had a strongly held belief that was not popular. Would you want him to remain silent for money? Wouldn't that make him a kind of whore? Would you still be proud?

Lizzie, this boycott stuff is getting old. Shop wherever you want, but before you do, you should carefully scrutinize the political beliefs of all the owners of every business that you frequent. I also suggest that you boycott the Johnson Bank as they have been lending me money.

And finally, Sam, as you already know, I have a great deal of respect for your intellect and courage. As you can see from above, you will be villified on occasion if you challenge the orthodoxy of the left. But challenge it we must, for the good of the indoctrinated children and for the good of this great nation. Oh and Sam, please see what you can do to get me to address or debate the Green folk. Obviously, they need the education.

Anonymous said...

The situation of environmental pollution is far overblown. Things are great! Never been better. Infant morality is dropping, people are better fed and live longer, there is less disease, literacy is improving and electrification is at an all-time high. (Have you ever been in a bread riot lately? Killed for being a Catholic? Son drafted into Prussian Army? Nope.) I’m an optimist. Suggesting that the very existence of humanity is jeopardized by global warming is contradicting every trend of industrialization, urbanization, and technological achievement the world has seen in past centuries. Old Europe, now almost entirely void of forests and natural ecosystems, exists still (Albeit stagnate economies and depleted birth rates).
I would love to help people open businesses and hire new people through investment. Investment helps people AND yourself. I love my fellow man. And love him even more if he is making good returns.

Michael Gibson said...

Denis: I'm sorry, I wasn't very clear when describing the buy-back policy. The company buying back the energy is actually WE Energies. To be quite honest, I don't know why they do this, but they do, and it works for me.

Denis Navratil said...

Michael, thank you for the additional info on the buy-back policy. You may not have questions about the policy as it works for you. However, I am not so sure that it works for WE Energies customers. Where does the money come from that WE Energies uses to pay Walden twice the going rate for stored energy? It comes from customers who have no choice but to buy from WE Energies if they want electricity. WE Energies being a quasi-public monopoly, this gift to Walden is made possible by taxing electricity consumers. Now this may be money well spent from WE Energies perspective. Spending a pittance of their customers money to get budding environmentalists to sing the praises of the biggest polluters around is a rather ingenious strategy.

Anonymous said...


If you have such disdain for WE Energies, why don't you go off the grid? Did you install any energy saving appliances or water heaters in your new apartments? What are you doing to relieve the pollution?

Denis Navratil said...

The left fears hypothetical or potential monopolies in thew private sector but not actual ones like WE Energies or Unified. I am not so sure I would call it disdain for WE Energies but as citizens we should we be mindful of the fact that they basically have a government enforced monopoly. This is not my area of expertise but I suspect that we would be better off with some deregulation of the energy sector.

As for my apartments, I made them as energy innefficient as possible as I like nothing more than to waste energy. My tenants are very glad to be paying obscene amounts for heating and cooling the apartments.

Anonymous said...


Have I got a BRIDGE for you...(before it falls)

Michael Gibson said...

As Adam said in the other forum, the money comes from people who CHOOSE, can I say it again, CHOOSE to use clean and renewable energy in their homes. These customers pay extra to try and do their part. WE Energies uses this program so that instead of spending millions of dollars on a photovoltaic system, they can use multiple places throughout the state and bring in just as much, if not more, energy.

Urbain Pioneer said...

To Micheal Alex, Rachel, and Others. If this actually worked, WE Energies would pay the whole bill, and start putting these things on every School, office Bldg, and home in the State. Imagine if they could generate more energy than they need, they could offer the taxpayers a "slice" of the profit. Obviously it's not actually profitable, or the folks who could do the most economically (the Power Company), would do it for FREE!!!
Furthermore, lets say we finally get around to closing your School, (which will happen at some point), Then we're going to have these photo cells, (and that nice new transom window in Mr. Rut's classroom), sitting there on 10th St. waiting for the wrecking Ball.
As a Racine Business owner, I'd like to see the Thousands of dollars I spend in taxes show me children who understand Math, reading, etc. (donating money to buy a slice of this boondoggle).
Rather than people gullible enough to believe Mr. Gore's made up "facts". 30 Feet increase in Ocean depth? (Interent, Lock Box, Buddist Monks, etc.)
We are driving kids all over the city to get them to Walden and spending Thousands of dollars and tons of Co2, but were going to use sledgehammer to kill a gnat (or 1 billion'th of a gnat). For what? To save pinch of smog?
Please children learn to reason too! "Warm Feelings" are not Facts.
And By the way, when I was in school the next Ice Age was just around the corner!!! in 30 years I'm sure we'll have a different "Phony Crisis". You're children will be made to feel guilty about.

Michael Gibson said...

Urbain Pioneer, you just succeeded in spouting of critism (in poor english, might I add) without even reading what we said. Read something. go to the "Response to Green Supporters" article after this and read what I had to say in the comment starting with "Sam, we never claimed...". Please, really read that and don't pick out what you want to hear, and come back to me.

Anonymous said...

As the President of France just said the other day, '...the world is making France change to other ways that they would rather NOT change to...'

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