Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Response to Walden Green Supporters

My apologies for the delayed response to the many passionate comments on the solar panel issue. I was out of town on business for two days.

Anyway, the facts that I used for my blog entry were those that I gathered from the Journal Times newspaper article on Sunday. Since I am a conscientious recycler, I no longer have the article at home, and am unable to review the JT article at this time. However, I would not be surprised if the JT article contained factual errors or was incomplete. And I don't discount the possibility that I may have made some errors.

But, as always, I am most interested in arriving at the truth. As such, I would welcome any opportunity to discuss this issue with any or all of the respondents. Perhaps this could be a worthwhile educational exercise. Maybe I could meet with the students, teachers and parents who are active with this project. I am available to meet with any and all and I await your invitation.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

But, as always, I am most interested in arriving at the truth

...you ALWAYS SAY that...but the proof is in the actions of individuals.

The proof is, any facts that are presented here, on any subject thst you write about, that contradict the 'right wing agenda' are called 'left' or merely dismissed.

Michael Gibson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Gibson said...

I am glad that you can recognize that you made a mistake and I think I speak for everyone at Walden when I say that we would be glad to meet with you in person if you really are interested. I will bring it up next Wednesday at our meeting.

On to the matter of the factual errors, I see where you got $232,000. I believe that you mistakenly added the grants to the remainder of $140,000. I saw some people making fun of you for this, but I understand that you are probably a reasonably busy person and you made an honest mistake.

You can review the article at the journal times website. Just type "Green school" into the search box at the top of the page.

Denis Navratil said...

Thank you Michael Gibson for directing me to the JT article. Obviously I mistakenly read a portion of the article and added the $140,000 to the grant money to reach the erroneous amount of $232,000. That was an innocent mistake and it obviously changes the calculations about the return on investment etc...

What doesn't change, however, is the importance of considering the value of investments relative to their costs. And judging by the rather harsh responses from students etc..., it seems that the mere act of questioning the value of "Green" activities is considered something of a crime. It is my hope that this kind of thinking (emoting is more like it) is not encouraged at Walden.

I would welcome the opportunity to meet with your group. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I can not help but to wonder about how quickly your views have changed. I wonder if it is because you have just insulted a large majority of your loyal costumers. Seeing how money seems to be the main focus of your agenda this boycott counldn't have been good news.
I also would like to turn the tables and allow you the plessure of being misrepresented through the eyes of a cinic. Surely as such a "respected figure" you of all people should know where money is best spent and who to support. Yet it seems your judgement failed when you choose whole heartedly to support former supperintendent Hicks. Unfortunately that choice ended up costing RUSD and the tax payers millions of dollars. Perhaps these wasted funds could have allowed all RUSD schools to become more energy efficient buildings. Maybe before the readers of your blog take your word as the truth they should take a look into your past loyaties and consider the source.I do believe that might change their perception.
Because you are such an avid recycler I thought I sould inform you that newspaper articles are very excessable through the Internet. I am surprised you didn't already know that as the avid blogger that you are. So I thought I would leave you with this bit of insight since you warp articles and then post your inaccurate, bais interpritaion on the internet. Skip a step and save a tree.

Michael Gibson said...

Again, this project should essentially pay for itself in about 3 years because Walden is only going to need to raise approximately $10,000 on our own. The rest is from grants, not loans, so we won't need to pay that expense back.

The reason we need the money is not to add all kinds of bells and whistles to our school, but to simply fix what RUSD is avoiding.

Besides the money, we honestly want to help raise awareness for green projects. Everyone has heard about global warming, and it is, for the most part, accepted as fact. What people don't see is what they can do to actually help. I think Walden, a school of 500 students, banding together and doing this could encourage more people to take a similar approach on an even larger scale.

Denis Navratil said...

anon, it should be obvious to anyone by now that I separate my political life from my business life, even if my customers can not. I did not change my overall tune as I am still a skeptic generally about the Green movement.

I have been called many things but I have never been called a Hicks supporter. You are flat out wrong on this one anon and I challenge you to produce even a shred of evidence to the contrary. But you raise an interesting point about the supporters of Hicks. Several years ago, the big push in Racine was to "buy in" to Hicks' plan, despite little info about the plan much less any evidence that the plan had worked elsewhere. But the Racine community acted like lemmings and dutifully climbed aboard the bandwagon. I have yet to hear any apologies from the people or organizations that brought in Hicks. Rather, most are busy defending portions of his record while seeking to maintain their influence in Unified.

I believe that there are lessons to be learned here anon. Falling prey to the latest fad, be it Hicks' methods or the latest environmental craze, can be harmful. There is a mob forming (formed?) at Walden that seeks to crush any dissenters. This suggests to me that the notion of skeptical inquiry is all but dead among our youth. Crush the dissenter is the order of the day. What a sad but true commentary on the state of education today.

Denis Navratil said...

Michael Gibson, you make a distinction between the grant money and money raised from students or other sources. That is fine for you to do so, but I prefer to look at the entire cost of the project, regardless of the source of the money.

Regarding global warming, again I probably make a distiction that many do not. First there is the question as to whether there is indeed global warming. For the record I think there is global warming. The second question is whether human activity is the cause or a primary cause of the warming. I am not a climate expert, but I have read enough to be skeptical of the claim that man is the primary source of this problem. And the third question is what to do about it if man is the primary cause of the warming. So while global warming may be reasonably considered fact, it does not flow from from there that we should endorse every idea that is offered to combat global warming, especially as many of the proponents can barely mask the socialist goals that they want to impose on a free people.

Walden Mom said...

Denis,

Since you seem to think that the JT is prone to errors in their publications I am suprised an educated and conscientious individual as yourself would use their article as your sole source of information for your blog. Perhaps it would have been prudent for you to contact the students and teachers of Walden's Green School Project before writing a blog about their efforts.

Denis Navratil said...

Walden mom, this is a blog. I don't have the time to exhaustively research everything that I write about. Besides, the error in this case was mine and not the JT's. My purpose here generally is to spark conversation, debate, and discussion about issues that other news sources find too hot to handle. I believe that there is value in debating issues that some apparently think should not be debated. If the project being pursued by Walden students is worthwhile environmentally and educationally, then it should stand up well to scrutiny and its proponents have no reason to fear my skepticism. I too am a parent walden mom and I believe young and old alike should be concerned with the environment. Yet I am also concerned about the teaching that is occurring in our schools. What I see regularly is a very hostile reaction to those who challenge the orthodoxy of liberals. The purpose of education is not to indoctrinate children but rather to expose them dispassionately to the stew of ideas, while helping them learn to approach issues with an open and logical mind. Given the responses that I have received from Walden students, supporters, and a few parents, it seems that there is little evidence to suggest that this is happening at Walden.

I think we should explore the differences and similarities between my thinking and that of the Green proponents. Not only would a meeting expose Walden students to a thought process not taught in school, but it would provide a forum for students (and me) to practice responsible political dialogue. Now more than ever we need to be able to engage responsibly with people who are different from ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Grant does not equal free money. It may for Walden, but someone pays for that grant money, it is not pulled out of thin air. That someone is the Taxpayer. Even if the grant comes from a Corporation the loss is made up for in fees or used as a tax shelter. Either way the taxpayer/consumer pays for it. There may be some Non-profit groups that don't receive Gov't funding that give grants, but for the most part this is not the case.
I am not idealistic enough to suggest that Walden not use grants that are available. I would suggest you recognize that your project is partially funded involuntarily by people that may not agree with it. Perhaps even a bit of gratitude is in order.

P

Anonymous said...

To quote mr Navratil: "I wish the students at Walden would stop destroying our earth."

I find it surprising that one who claims to only be search for truth and honest dialogue would resort to nasty snide comments in attacking our comunities children.

Its doubly ironic that he then whines that he feels under "harsh attack" by those who disagree with him.

I think what the lesson that the Walden students are learning is how to spot hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

IMHO something is either ironic or not, but it is not "doubly ironic"

P

Denis Navratil said...

The lesson plan for you anon is to learn how to spot a joke. Do you really think that I think the Walden students are destoying the earth by installing solar panels on a building?

Adam R. (12 yr.old anon) said...

Denis-

You say that you are always interested in finding the truth, but each of your postings give us more reasons to think the opposite. You also admit that this is a blog, and you do not have time to thoroughly research your information. If you do not know what you are talking about, do not start to criticize the good things other people do. Also, if you do not trust the Journal Times, why do you use it for your information? I would think that such a truth seeker would use a much better source of information.


At one point in your postings, you complain that Walden seeks to crush all dissenters with it's comments, while in other postings, you complain that Walden students do not question or debate. What we are doing is not "crushing the dissenter", we are merely pointing out the distortions in your posting and criticizing you for twisting every positive thing someone does to look horrible.


"The part about Walden destroying the earth was a lighthearted joke 12 year old anon." This does not sound like a lighthearted joke to me. Throughout the article you say many different things suggesting that we really are destroying the earth. Just look at the title: Mindless idealism causes global warming. I suppose that is also a "lighthearted joke".

You, unlike almost every scientist on earth, thinks that global warming is not caused by man. Since you are such an avid environmentalist, I would like to recommend a movie called "An Inconvenient truth". Unlike you, Al Gore does not make up his information. Unless you are as ignorant as you sound, this should convince you that this crisis must be stopped. Also, why would you want Walden to stop "destroying the earth" if you didn't believe in the first place that humans create global warming. I know you don't think so, but last time I checked, Walden students were human.

As for the grant money, the WE energies grant comes directly from people who pay extra to have their house powered by clean, renewable energy. This program is called Energy for Tomorrow. Look it up on their web site,if you doubt it.


You also say that "the notion of skeptical enquiry is all but dead among our youth". I have a skeptical question, why do you keep insisting that our efforts at Walden are backwards. What you need to do is realize that what Walden is doing is a good thing, and recall your previous statements.

Adam R.

Denis Navratil said...

Adam, go to your room.

Anonymous said...

You claim to wish to have a positive dialogue. Adam made a rationale argument and you reply by insulting a 12 year old? Or is the latest insult another of your "jokes"?

Denis Navratil said...

anon, I have a twelve year old son. If I ever witnessed him speaking or writing to anyone in the manner used by Adam, I would by all means send him to his room. I would not engage in conversation with him, nor would I tolerate the behavior from him.

also a parent of a twelve year old said...

As we should not tolerate this behavior from you. Try leading by example.

Denis Navratil said...

If you see no distinction between my discourse and that of twelve year old Adam, then you are blind to reality. What behavior on my part do you find objectionable aapoatwy? Please be specific.

Michael Gibson said...

Maybe you should go to your room jerk. You show what an immature, pompous, irrational bafoon you really are. You ask us not to insult you, but then you come back and insult a twelve year old. You're just jealous that he can speak in a more articulate manner than you AND you ran out of come backs. Admit that you're wrong and get off your throne.

Do me a big favor. Respond to his argument rather than nit pick and complain that he is making fun of you (rightfully so). Maybe you, sir, should learn to take a joke.

Michael Gibson
Walden III Junior

Brendan Schwaab said...

My name is Brendan Schwaab and I go to the Prairie School. I completely support the Walden school in their energy program. I think you should realize that this program is a step ahead of any school, including Prairie, and supports our environment and our community. I read your response to Adam R.'s post. I think this blatant disregard to his solid argument. That was immature and ignorant. His post made much more sense than all of your articles combined. I think you should go to your room.

Michael Gibson said...

Brendan - I have been wondering about your program at Prairie. How is it going? If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I might be able to give you a bit of advice on hwo to get things rolling.

alex said...

i see no wrong in adam's words. in fact, he is merely answering your questions. he explained the WE energies buy back program to you. were you not in the dark on this subject. for this, you should be thanking him. also,you explained in previous posts that this is a blog, meant to spark discussion. how can debate take place if your responses are nothing more than snide remarks. you told me earlier that insults show nothing more than a weak arguement. surely this applies to all of us, including yourself. i wish you would stop avoiding adam's comment and give him an honest reply.

If anything, you should be applauding Adam for his obvious concern in our community. he is a great example of a well educated youth, able to research, and willing to fight for what he believes in.

surely we can all agree that youth who are observant and active in our community are a good thing

-Alex Weyenberg

Anonymous said...

Wow!

Its heartening to see the maturity and ability to reason demonstarated by (most) of the the youth posting today.

If Mr Navratil wished to provoke discussion, he was certainly successful. (I suspect he didnt realize he was out of his league, when he picked the fight)

Kudos to the Walden (and Prairie) kids, I am genuinelly impressed by your ability to think through a position and defend it.

Caledonication said...

"Adam, go to your room."

LMAO!

"Unlike you, Al Gore does not make up his information."

ROTFLMAO!

Anonymous said...

Well, now that Thanksgiving is upon us, I have a little time to catch up on the latest controversy created by Mr. (and I use that term loosely) Navratil. It seems he thrives on only the controversy and cannot come to a realistic conclusion on any subject. He is self serving and narcisistic, always has been. Take it from someone who has been dealing with his antics for years. So, yes, it is Thanksgiving...a time for reflection and gratitude. So today I am grateful to the students and parents who have defended their actions and efforts so effectually. Denis Navratil cannot hold an intelligent argument with teenagers and pre-teens. These students have a general lack of experience that would normally lead one to believe they would be less able to put together a convincing argument. The opposite is true here, they have put together convincing testimony in rebuttal to Denis Nvaratil's rantings. This shows his true lack of intelligence, trying to take on kids who are actually stepping up and making an effort at creating a difference. (Good thing he lost in his bid for County Executive, or we would be in real trouble). These kids are attempting something, what has Denis done to help his community instead of bashing everything that comes across his eyes? I challenge you Denis, list your community accomplishments, right here, right now. And be careful, there are alot of people here who know you and what you have done (HAVEN'T done). Be careful about taking credit for things you haven't done as it would be a form or thievery. So far, all I've seen is you trying to make your way off the backs of others, using them to your selfish advantage. Be careful about asking for examples, because you'll get them, and then you'll have to tell me to go to my room because you won't have any argument, as has been demonstrated here. Yes, students, I am thankful on this day for young people like you..those who will stand up for their beliefs and fight with intelligence and candor against someone like Denis Navratil. That's a good thing for our community and our country. People like him need to be put in their place. If more young people would have done that in Nazi Germany and the Communist block countries we may not have had to fight them in WWII and the Cold War. Yes, I am thankful today for young people like you, resisting the Navratil's of the world.

ps - Boycotting Navratil's store is something many people have been doing for years, it's nothing new, and it usually results from Denis opening his offensive mouth and professing non-support of people and their positive projects. So why support him?

Anonymous said...

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse - war, famine, pestilence and death - whose tantivy through the centuries have terrorized billions, now are trotting at an ever slower pace. Irrational fear is a common theme throughout the history. Christians, Pagans, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, witches, industrialization, Communists, nuclear war, Roe vs. Wade, global cooling, terrorism, SARs and bird flu were all at one point going to destroy human civilization according to some state, church, or media outlet. Global warming is no different and over hyped by the liberal media. No bet is as sure as the bettering state of humanity. Progress, achievement, and wealth are evitable and I fail to see how these trends will halt their antediluvian march and reverse themselves with a rising thermometer, Anonymous.
After Michael clarified the data and statistics, (thank you) it seems as though solar panels will indeed yield sufficient revenue after 3 years to pay Walden’s share. However, that does not make photovoltaic plates profitable (profit - the total net income factoring all expenditures and revenues). The moneymaking ability of these panels is dependant upon grant money and charity. If solar panels were truly profitable, more people would have them. But their existence is allowed only with government subsidy or handouts.
The CO2 output for the world as of 2007 is 27,245,758,000 according to the United Nations Statistics Division. Assuming that 100% of the factors of fundraising are "carbon neutral," AND CO2 output remains completely flat from year to year AND that the solar panels save (an exaggerated) 10 tons of CO2 annually, Walden students can stop 0.000000000367% of the CO2 output per year!!! HOORAY!!! Do not forget that CO2 is only one greenhouse gas and that it comprises only 0.038% of our atmosphere. I am not a mathematician, but I can say with confidence that solar panels probably will not make a discernable difference in climate at all. If you want to raise money for new windows, say that. Drop the moral crusade. You can be the “Grant-Money-and-New-Windows School.”
If companies and gullible WE Energies customers are making an infinitesimal difference climatologically, perhaps they have some other reason for “going green.” That warm, fuzzy feeling coupled with comes to mind…
In summation, the Green School will indeed become green, but only in one sense...

SAM BRAUN,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE

concrete katie said...

Maybe Denis should be sent to his room. He has just won the Gregor Samsa award! Gregor wakes up and finds that he has become a bug....

This (Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis) is a sad book and Denis is Gregor Samsa not Adam.

We have one planet. We have an energy problem and we humans have been recklessly polluting this earth which we share with all life forms.

How I wish downtown Racine had seriously considered the greening vision that Jim Spodick and Margot Mazur worked so hard to develop. We ran into this wall that Denis represents, too.

Yes, I think Walden is leading the way now for Racine and it is important if Racine is going to be sustainable and a place where people want to live.

On this issue of greening, Denis represents the status quo here in America.

Change is always difficult.

Take Denis up on his offer for a real discussion. He isn't so bad. Adam vs. Denis! Adam is going to win!

Michael Gibson said...

Sam Braun - I would like you to prove that global warming does not exist.

Furthermore, you claimed that the panels are only being put up through government handouts. Too bad the We Energies grant (worth $50,000) comes from people who choose to pay extra on their energy for the satisfaction of knowing that they are using greener energy.

I can not understand why you are so excited about our lack of profitability. Did you ever think that we want to make a difference for the good of mankind? Or for our community? Did the thought ever occur to you that we want to be an example of what can be done with a little effort? Maybe once our program goes through (which it will), people will decide to try that. Ever hear of the domino effect? One school tries it, then another, then maybe someday all the schools in Wisconsin could have solar panels. They did it in Vancouver (or somewhere in Canada, I don't recall off the top of my head). Why can't we make an effort to do it here?

CO2 is the main contributor to global warming. I am aware that there are other greenhouse gases, but as people strive towards environmental protection, people will make technology to reduce mercury and carbon monoxide emissions. CO2 is just the first step.

Anonymous said...

Joe Haban (of Haban Manufacturing)tells of how they were discussing global warming at conferences 40 years ago!

Anonymous said...

Michael Gibson - I would like you to prove that global warming/cooling can be stopped even though it has been warming and cooling for millennia naturally and without human interference. And that your green actions will produce a measurable consequence.

“choose to pay extra on their energy for the satisfaction of knowing that they are using greener energy”

I observed how you left out any mention of the environment and focused exclusively on the moral satisfaction of these customers. Indeed they are making a voluntary choice, something I have no problem with. But as my reasoning attests to, these people are purchasing mainly contentment, and stopping the warmth of global by a quadrillionth of a degree at the very best.

There are 517 schools in Wisconsin. If every one of them purchased $140,000 worth solar panels, it would cost $72,380,000. You know as well as I do that it costs far to much money. But for argument’s sake, let’s say every single high school in Wisconsin went green. Let’s say they, on average, save a whopping 20 tons of CO2 annually for each school. If the constants I mentioned before are included in the equation, Wisconsin schools would keep 0.00000038% of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere in a year.

The effort is ludicrously ineffectual.

“CO2 is the main contributor to global warming.”

CO2 is by far no means the most abundant green house gas. Water vapor is. Look it up. Every single climatologist will back me up on this.

“Why can't we make an effort to do it here?”

We could. But why should we? Aren’t there more pressing problems that do not require such massive amounts of time and effort? Couldn’t we do much more with the same amount of money? AIDs, hunger, clean drinking water, and education all will be cheaper and do more good for humanity than trying to fix global warming. Economist Bjorn Lomborg has a number of articles dealing with prioritizing the world’s problems.

Environmentalism and climate policies are a tragic example of resource misallocation. A vast amount of money has been committed to yield a minute result.

I do not doubt Green School’s ambition or sincerity. But I am questioning their effectiveness in stopping global warming.

SAM BRAUN

Denis Navratil said...

Anon 9:47, I don't use this blog to promote myself. I use it to promote good ideas and discredit bad ideas. I tend not to like self promoters. But because you asked so nicely, I will throw you a bone. I invented the internet.

alex weyenberg said...

it's very sad that you actually can't name anything. once again you are forced to make a pun.


and to sam,
you must realize that walden's green movement doesn't stop at school. i don't get home, turn my heat up to 90, and open all of my windows. the goal is to make everyone aware of their effects on the earth during their day to day lives. so instead of having just "green schools" we have "green communities". so now, redo your calculations not only with every school in wisconsin, but also with every home, factory, office, hospital, ect. the numbers are much higher. now do this in every state. now this means that jon doe is using less energy. which also means he is spending less money on energy ( partly because it is now renewable). now, more money goes into his pocket and is ready to be spent on goods and services, thus boosting the economy. this is something you described as "good" in our sociology class. is it not?

ALEX WEYENBERG

Michael Gibson said...

Sam, we never claimed that we are going to singlehandedly stop global warming. Your percents and facts are all fine and dandy, but when it comes down to it, no matter how minuscule it might be, we are making a difference. We know that we aren't going to have the mother of all photovoltaic systems on the roof. What we will do is provide an example for others. Look at Walden. We are a school of 500 kids from all over Racine County. Our school is in poor condition as a result of ignorance from RUSD. You might not have been around this, but two years ago RUSD was fighting to put us in another building (O. Brown, to be specific). Through all fo this, we got a small group to band together and really do something. People will hear our story, even if it's through the Journal Times, which wrote up a somewhat poor account of our efforts in my opinion. We could provide inspiration for people. When you look around, people all over are going green. Right down the street the City Hall Annex is putting up a huge photovoltaic system. We are not just one isolated group. We are adding to a global movement. The group is larger than the whole.

The Green effort at Walden also offers a great educational experience. Kids will be able to look at how much co2 we are saving in real time on any computer in our lab. Also, by having this program, we may inspire people to help out a little bit in their everyday lives. This has already started through our lightbulb fundraiser. I can't recall exactly how much all the lightbulbs we sold are going to save, but it was in the thousands of pounds of Co2.

As for your argument against global warming: Do you not look at science? Were you even paying attention when we watched "An Inconvenient Truth" in Peggy's class last year? For me, the most convincing portion of that film was the part where the graphs were shown on Co2 levels in the atmosphere vs. Temperature. They went back hundreds of thousands of years and got temperature records, and, in general, they stayed at about the same level. Yes, there was a warming period, but it was not nearly as extreme as when the Industrial Revolution hit. On his charts near the mid 1800's, we notice a rise in Co2, as well as temperature. As time goes on, both of these continue to rise right along side of each other. Co2 doesn't just come from dirt. It comes from our pollution from our cars, factories, power plants, etc.

Obviously, water Vapor makes up the majority of our atmosphere. And we know that Co2 only makes up a small portion. But Mother Nature has a very delicate balance, and as we begin to meddle with it, it will bite back even harder. The greenhouse effect is natural, as his heating and cooling over time. But, as humans continue to pollute the atmosphere, these processes are obviously speeding up.

And you say why tackle this issue but not another. Our school rates within the bottom 5% of the entire country in term's of energy efficiency. I think that is reason enough to try to do something. Even though we will not be using the energy we create directly, we will be using the income to fund projects to replace poor windows with energy efficient windows. You know the boards above the windows in Tom Rutkowski's room? We hope to take those out and put windows there, so that, during the day, we might not have to use lights in that room because the sun will provide enough. This effort works in a great cycle for our benefit. We help planet Earth and inspire the community, and in return we can lower our energy bills and make our school a nicer, warmer place to attend.

Michael Gibson
OPTIMIST

Anonymous said...

“when it comes down to it, no matter how minuscule it might be, we are making a difference.”

Your making a very expensive, $140,000 almost-nothing difference. That’s what I have issue with. Its such a large amount of money for such an ineffectual result and unworthy cause.

“means he is spending less money on energy ( partly because it is now renewable).”

very often renewable resources are more expensive than fossil fuels. Because your solar project is dependant upon grant money and donation, its not feasible to have on a mass scale in private homes and businesses.The solar panels will not pay for themselves for 35 years. When I’m 52, this project will break even. Which is peculiar because solar panels usually only have a lifespan of at most 30 years.
Like it or not, the global economy is one of fossil fuels. That will not change for years.

“We are adding to a global movement.”

There is no global movement towards stopping global warming. Signatories of the Kyoto treaty do not meet there goals and actually increased carbon emissions by 12% from 1990-2000 (even though its costing the world $180 billion annually) Even the State, in its might, cannot stop carbon emissions from growing, how are we in the free United States to do so? Any actions taken are immediately negated by economy growth.
The United States causes 22.2 % of the world’s carbon emissions. If the United States were to destroy ALL consumer goods, cars, buildings that required electricity or burn fossil fuels and move our entire population into mud huts and tin shacks forever, China and India alone would make up the difference in carbon emissions in 5 and a half years at current growth rates. There is nothing anybody can do to stop global warming.

The green movement is hampered in its effectiveness by reality.

SAM BRAUN,
PRAGMATIST

pariah jeep said...

Sam Braun - you were asked to produce evidence that global warming (I assume the manmade kind) does not exist. I now challenge you to produce any evidence - from a real journal - that Bigfoot does not exist. If you cannot, I will assume that it is OK to produce an incredible wealth redistribution scheme around Bigfoot. Perhaps an independent global body could decide on Bigfoot credits - credits for those who are deemed to be Bigfoot-friendly (cookies and milk left in backyards, etc.) and demerits for those who don't.

I wish I could publish in the manmade global warmin arena. How cool. Correlative data and predcitive software with a receptive audience for reports that agree with the "dogma". Not a single EXPERIMENT in a peer-reviewed journal. After many years of study we cannot model the normal function of a single human cell (and won't for at least another twenty years, although we systems biologists try), yet people can collect thousands of years of temperature data (accurate thermometers have onle been around for a small portion of that), build software programs and make 100% accuate predictions for the future.

I should publish a study that proves that children's shoe sizes are almost 100% predictive of their reading proficiency. Graphs and R2 values will prove my point. Of course, older children invariably have better reading skills and have larger shoe sizes. . .

Denis Navratil said...

Alex, Michael, etc... if solar panels or other feel good alternative energy sources were efficient, ie, they didn't waste money but rather saved money, then I would install them on my house, at my business etc...and so would everyone else. But they are not. They are dependent at this time on wealth transfers, in your case from WE Energies grants and others. There may come a time when technology can deliver energy in a cleaner and more efficient manner, but that time is not yet here. Throughout your responses are notions that you want to "set an example for others" or "inspire others." Fine, go for it, but keep in mind that not everyone is inspired by your efforts and may indeed find them somewhat dangerous. As you say, you are part of a global effort, and I dare say that this global effort has goals that go beyond setting examples and inspiring others. For innefficient systems to be implemented in a widespread manner, vast sums of money will be needed. Where will it come from? It will come from taxes and subsidies and mandates etc...all of which usurps the power of individuals while further empowering the state. Now you may think that this is a fine idea, but is it? Powerful states seldom tend to be good stewards of the environment. Some of the biggest environmental trainwrecks occurred in the former Soviet Union and present day China. Why is that you may wonder? It is because no individual takes responsibility in these situations. The environment fairs much better when the notion of individual ownership is protected and valued. Given all the bravado and rightousness on display here, I suspect that you will dismiss my objections to the "Green" movement as the rantings of a right wing, selfish, uncaring yada yada yada... Even so, my hope is that my concerns may be considered by some who as yet have not been thoroughly indoctinated in the movement.

Urbain Pioneer said...

Recently I had one of these sanctimoniuos Walden "Greenies". come into my shop and shove her tripe down my throat. I also don't co-mingle my Biz and Politics. But "Aly" fed me a list of "Facts". One of those "Facts" was "In 15 Years, New York will be under water to the point where the memorial of the World Trade Center is." Amoung other gross exagerations. Like the number of Cat 4 & 5's has almost doubled in the last 30 years. (This year there were none, does that mean Global warming is over?). ( Maybe we should pass a law outlawing Cat 4's and higher.)

Now "Aly" (perhaps Alex?) I am not in favour of pollution or enviornmental destruction. I believe in Global warming, (a 1 Mile thick Glacier was in the place I am typing from just 11,000 years ago.) In order for grass to grow there must have been some Global Warming, but my Explorer didn't cause it, and neither did my Incandescant Light Bulbs.
Aly, wanna improve the climate? Urge your Senators to allow more Drilling in the US for Gas and Oil, Allow for more Nuke Plants to be built, and if it makes you feel beter, come back to my store and pick up this paper and you can print on the other side:>).
Thanks for Blog, Denis!!!

Michael Gibson said...

I don't know if anyone on this blog has ever heard of a place called Sweden, but they have cars that run on water, and they are making prototypes of cars that will run on compressed air. (Before you tell em that these technologies are inefficient, read about them. Don't make assumptions.) They have the fourth or second highest environmental record in the world. Their standard of living is also much higher. They are a generally wealthy country. I don't think it's coincidence.

Urbain Pioneer said...

OK Mike, et al. So the 500 students at Walden are going to set another example with their leadership. Will they start cycling or skate-boarding to school, that would actually reduce their carbon foot print and save dozens of tons of Co2 from the atmosphere. (Or they could attend the School closest to their own homes and save even more "Tons").
As for Waldens previous contributions to "example-setting" I have been unimpressed with their leadership these past few years. The puprle and Pink hair. The Eyebrow bolts, Tattoo's and Lip rings!! The overly anti- establishment saggy bell bottoms.
The smoking off the grounds!! No doubt that look is coming soon. And my favorite, the Walden couple who went to prom in the Duct tape Tux and Prom dress a few years back. Yep, you are the Vangaurd, where do I sign up for the Hemp t-shirts. (PS I'm a neighbor of Walden.)
I can't wait til we all get in our H2O vehicles. (If they work and go fast and don't look like Yugo's). I'd buy one, but it better be as good as my SUV.

Ultimately my point, sarcasm aside; is that to waste this Grant and fundraising money on something which will not see a profit before the school closes is folly and the best possible result is the equivalant of smashing an ant with Sherman tank. A whole bunch of feel good and no PROVABLE benefit.

As for "Awareness" I don't think one Pink Ribbon has blocked one Lump or Breast Cancer!! And the level of awareness created by the White Ribbon Fraud/ Hysteria for AIDS has turned out to be have been grossly overexaggerated; which we'll find out is also true about Global Warnig and Carbon Footprints, and other such Socialists power grabs, (See Sweden).
AS for your Antique out-dated school. Imagine if we had moved you to O. Brown, You'd be closer to the lake in the summer, (thus cooler); and warmer near the Lake in the winter, (thus warmer). We would consume less energy to heat and cool the building. If you went to the school closest to you, we'd save even more $ and Co2. We could have sold Walden to a developer who could rehab it into a nice Condo building complex or demolish it and create new modern energy efficient housing in the area, and continue the re-habilitation of the SE corner of the city. Lot's of ways to make the world better, and it doesn't all come from WE Grants or Mercury filled light bulbs.
OPTIMIST...& Realist!

Anonymous said...

I see we are ignoring my previous post and opting for the classic “But-Look-At-Sweden” argument. It comes about often when talking to liberals. One I have heard many a time.
Part of Sweden’s trick is low population, high natural resource. There is a relative surplus of goods in Sweden do to hydroelectrical power and mineral deposits. A free market allocation of these resources would be much more efficient. But they get enough from the government not to be pissed off. The government can waste the nation’s resources on green energies not because they are rich, not vice-versa.
Sweden was once a poor country. Free market reforms in the 1860s allowed Sweden to benefit from the spreading Industrial Revolution. Nearly all Swedish corporations that exist today, like Volvo and Saab, were founded in this period of capitalist enlightenment. Sweden stayed neutral in both world wars, averting massive economic damage that comes with war. Until 1932, government spending had been kept below 10% of GDP in Sweden. The Great Depression changed that. Taxes increased and government spending soared. Further “pro-labor” reforms in the 1970’s mad Sweden terribly uncompetitive in the global marketplace. The kroner fell. A series of Keynesian meddling in bussiness and exchange rate affairs culminated in a 1993 recession with GDP being 5% lower than in 1990, with employment falling more than 10%, and the budget deficit rising to more than 10% of GDP. It was only after deregulation and privatization of many industries did the recession recover. Inflation still runs rampant and unemployment would be much higher if the government didn’t sent all those people to "labor market political activities." The average income in Sweden is less than average income for black Americans. mises.org has a lot of great articles. Everyone should check them out.

For the cars, if the air cars and cars that run on water (Wait. Are you talking about boats?) were efficient enough to pull in a profit, they would be in production and cease to be prototypes. That is how the market works. Doe it make ANY sense that a company has a car that is cheaper than the old fossil fuel kind AND NOT MAKE IT? If there is supply and demand and chance of profit, why isn’t there a water car on the Ford dealership lot right now?

And God help you if you say the oil corporations are responsible.

SAM BRAUN

Michael Gibson said...

Sam, beyond all of your handy history lessons and right-wing statistics, Sweden's standard of living is still higher than America's. Everyone has health care, the infant mortality rate is lower, and even though people may not have has much surplus income, the gap between rich and poor is generally smaller. Basically, people have everything they need to get by. I know that wikipedia is usually not the best source, but look up Sweden and click on "International Rankings". It is an up-to-date chart with citations.

The cars that run on air and water are actually not prototypes now that I think about it. They have a "Hydrogen Highway", a place where they have filling stations to fill up a water car, in Norway, and have plans for them in California. As for the air car, They are beginning to be released throughout Sweden to be used as taxis for the most part. I believe they will be available in North America fairly soon. Go to "theaircar.com" for more info. I know they are kind of hideous, but they work. They are new technologies that may still need some work, but soon enough, people will have them.

Michael Gibson said...

Urbain Pioneer - I cannot believe your degree of ignorance and quick judgment that you use on Walden students. Just because we don't look just like you doesn't mean that we aren't good people. We clean up the neighborhood and we are the second highest contributors to the Food Bank. So there is a group of Walden students that smoke. So what? This does not make them bad people. I'm sure there are people in your family that smoke, and if there aren't, I'm sure that there has to be someone you know that does. Are they bad people? Believe it or not, some of that group is just as well mannered, if not more, then the rest of the school. As for the couple that went in duct tape, I don't know if you know about this, but prom is usually a time to have fun. Also, I know there is a grant for college available for people who do this. In my opinion, it is silly, but if you need money, then why not?

Believe it or not, the money we make from the solar panels will make a profit sooner than you think. I have explained how a thousand times. Read something. The money will be put towards projects in our school that will make us more energy efficient.

You argue that we are all driven in from all over the city, which adds to pollution. There are many flaws in this argument as well. For one thing, we are bussed with St. Catherine's and, I believe, Lutheran. (I'm not sure about Lutheran, I do not take the bus as I am not eligible.) We also do quite a bit of car pooling, or at least I would like to think that most students, like myself, drive in when their parents are leaving for work. For your information, we promote cycling to school and actually had a week last year where it was heavily promoted.

You have obviously never walked through Walden if you think we can just get up and go. We are very attached to our building. Our walls are covered in beautiful murals from students over the past years. Our building has so much character. Also, if we were to move, we wouldn't be able to do the Make a Difference day activities that we do every year. We wouldn't be able to walk downtown to have lunch with our homegroup teachers. We couldn't walk to art galleries and museums downtown. It just wouldn't be the same at all.

Anonymous said...

I didn’t doubt that Sweden has higher standard of living according to some. But what I am saying is that the wealth redistribution programs and the green movement have absolutely nothing to do with their wealth. The facts speak for themselves. Please check them and do your own research. There was no explosion of wealth that came about as the result of air cars and more efficient toasters. The green movement did not bring Sweden wealth. The former free-market oriented policies, an abundance of natural resources and a low population is why Sweden is not is as bad a shape as it could be.

If these air cars only exist in Sweden as government taxis, it begs the question, why? If the cars could in fact pay for themselves why are there only a handful them in a government-run sector in a socialist state? Hydrogen cars, too require massive amounts of subsidy. Will there be a day when we all have water cars or flying cars? Today is not that day. And I don’t want my tax dollars going to pay for your fancy new, Swedish automobile. Just like you don’t want your tax money going to private ownership of handguns or in the form of corporate welfare, correct?

SAM BRAUN

Michael Gibson said...

Well I must say that you, Sam Braun, have made a pretty good point. But, to use Alex's argument as an example, wouldn't we all be better off if we could take the hundreds of dollars a month we spend on gasoline and put them into our pockets for spending on other goods and services. I believe that the reduction of our gasoline consumption would boost our economy.

The air cars are being used as taxis only for a short time because MDI is still getting licenses to build them. Fifty countries have got on board, with the good ol' U.S.A. being one of them. It is a growing invention. Soon enough it will be available.

This video doesn't stress the economics of the cars, but it just gives you a bit of information so you have a little more to base your opinions on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmqpGZv0YT4

smallgovsam said...

“wouldn't we all be better off if we could take the hundreds of dollars a month we spend on gasoline and put them into our pockets for spending on other goods and services.”

I absolutely 100% agree with you. Higher energy costs don’t help anybody. But the key word is “would.” Currently, many renewable or cleaner resources cost more, require a large amount of capital investment, or lose money without subsidies.

I do plan on buying a energy efficient car not because of any moral reasons, but to save money. Thus having more money to invest in the stock market or investment properties.

I look forward to the day when we won’t have to buy Saudi oil with our military’s presence and aging Playboy centerfolds. But, realistically, that day will not happen anytime soon. Oil is at 100 dollars a barrel, unthinkable a decade ago. In Europe, still very much a fossil fuel economy, a gallon of gas costs well over 6 dollars with all the taxes, varying from nation to nation.

So get on the plane Traci, a wealthy man named Muhammad would like to meet you.

Michael Gibson said...

Well maybe if more people would just take the leap into renewable energy it wouldn't be so expensive to obtain. And, if solar panels are so uneconomical, why do people put them on their roofs?

pariah jeep said...

Michael - the development of any new technology since the beginning of time requires three components:

1. Concept
2. Technology necessary to build that concept
3. The societal or economic pressure to have that develope3d concept enter the marketplace

Artificially induced demand, usually by governments, rarely satisfy requirement #3 in the long term, although they do provide healthy grants to try it.

Solar panels are quite un-economical. The reason people put them on their houses include tax writeoffs (taxpayer support) and personal interest in doing so. They do not save money in normal business cycles or the demand would be higher, leading to more revenue for tech developers, better products, decreased cost, additional demand - you get the idea.

Denis Navratil said...

pj, that was an excellent explanation. I hope Michael is able to consider it, or more appropriately, incorporate it into his analysis into the worth of his project and other similar projects.

Michael Gibson said...

Pariah - In a general context, you are probably right. But I do believe that in our situation, they will show a profit. We ultimately put no money into this project. We fund raised, and there were initial costs for t-shirt printing, button making materials, etc., but, ultimately, all of these things showed us nothing but profit. We are going to take these profits and add them to our grants. My point is that, basically, our project is free of cost.

Pariah Jeep said...

Michael - first of all, I like your interest and passion. However, I will make some comments about some of your comments. I am not picking on you because you are a high school student. I wouldn't waste my time on a student who didn't want to better themselves.

You said "In a general context, you are probably right". What does "in a general context" mean? You mean "generally" but you wanted it to look more impressive. The extra words will not help your argument or add to your writing. How did you decide that I was "probably" right? Without reading and/or speaking to experts, such a statement smacks of condescension. I suspect that you didn't mean it this way, but your written word is the reader's only window.

Your fund raising efforts are truly commendable, especially since it involved getting funding for a publicly owned building. However, you have to recognize that grants come from "somewhere", and someone in another location is doing without so that your project can be funded. I always tell people that if money is available go after the grant, but it does come from taxpayers. It isn’t “free money”; it is only free to you because you aren’t paying for it.

In addition, the grant is available for your solar panels, not to fix the leaky windows, which would be a better first step. I say great! You got the solar panel money and now someone else will see you efforts and fund the smaller cost of fixing the windows. Remember that this is demand side economics though – the government is giving you grant money to meet a need that THEY decided is worth funding, not the market. You must now be even more creative to fill in the gaps. Sorry about the pun.

Good luck with your projects!

Michael Gibson said...

When I said "in a general context", I meant that if single person were pursuing this project.

For the umpteenth time, the money is coming from people who pay extra on their energy bills to use renewable sources. WE Energies is required by law to have a certain percentage of their energy come from renewable energies. That is where we come in. We, along with other projects similar to ours, provide them with the energy they need so that they do not need to spend millions on building a field full of solar panels. I believe that that is also cheaper for the consumer and tax-payer.

Pariah Jeep said...

When I said "in a general context", I meant that if single person were pursuing this project.

I still don't understand this. . .

"WE Energies is required by law to have a certain percentage of their energy come from renewable energies." Bingo! Did a body of scientists (or econo,ists) make this law or politicians? Again, demand side economics. You are aware that a law required lenders to, in essence, make a great number of risky loans to people who should not have received them )in addition to the risky loans they made on their own). The current subprime mess is one result. You won't be affected directly, but your parents might.

smallgovsam said...

“I believe that that is also cheaper for the consumer and tax-payer.”

Michael, Michael! Did we forget my calculations? The solar panels cost $140,000. Factoring the “free” grant money and the buyback program, it will take 35 years for the total cost of the project to break even. When I’m 52, Walden will pull in profit (meaning net income of all expenditures and revenues). Which is peculiar because solar panels usually only have a lifespan of at most 30 years. So, someone, somewhere is going to be losing money on this. It TAKES money from the economy because it will not pay for itself. Assuming that everything works perfectly for 30 years with 0% maintenance or installation cost, the project will STILL be in the hole $20,000 in the hole when the panels tucker out.

SAM BRAUN

Michael Gibson said...

What I'm trying to say is that if you are an individual pursuing solar panels, there are not as many grants available. But since we are a school, we get more opportunities because we have a larger roof than most private homes.

Sam - You are not factoring in the savings on our energy bills that will be the result of making our school more efficient through repairs funded by the solar panels. Please, spare yourself some time and don';t try to factor that in, as it would be impossible due to the fact that we are still working out the details on that ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Denis, Sam, Pariah Jeep- Have you ever considered that there is something higher than your need for more ipods? This is about the future of the planet, not money.

Anonymous said...

Where is your outrage against the solar panel projects planned by the mayor of Racine, UW-Parkside, and Wingspread?

Anonymous said...

Dear Denis Navratil and Sam

I am a member of the green school movement as well as a student who attends Walden III.

First off Denis I will attempt to clear up questions about the funding for this project. Yes, the panels will cost 140,000 to install. All this money comes from grants and money we have raised ourselves. No tax payer money is used in the project. If that is your main Concern I suggest that you go after the city. They have a set of Panels on the city hall building. These are twice the size of ours and were paid for with 100 percent tax payer money. However our solar panels will cover our roof and greatly decrease the cost of fixing it every few years. In short this project will SAVE the taxpayer money therefore throwing out your concern altogether.

Secondly Denis, opon receiving our installation we will enter into a program with WE energies. We will be selling the power back to the company at twice the market value. Agin saving you more money. This money will be put into buying new windows and doors for our school that are energy efficient. Our current windows are the original windows (over 100 years old). These are not up to code. The windows have no screens, some little kid could fall out!! I believe you are of sound mine and would not wish this on anybody. Theses improvements will save; yes you guessed it even more taxpayer money from the money saved on heating and electric
The system it's self will only need service about every ten years. This will not cost much and we will pay for it our selves with the money we make as well as passably other grants.

The amount made will per year from the system will be about 4,000.
In short there is no debt from this project to pay off(I didn’t forget you my dear Sam (Hugs and kisses)). There is no cost to the taxpayer. There is savings for the tax payer. Lastly no there is no investment by the taxpayer. Those who wright the grants give up their own time to do so.

As always your friend from Walden: Katrina

PS I love your store. I bought a new bag from there. Also the tree ornaments are so cute!

PPS Nice blog and website.

Anonymous said...

Oh one more thing we are all good people here. In future let us be more aware of the facts and we will all make Racine a happy place

agin yours Katrina

smallgovsam said...

Assuming that the $122,000 in grant money was not directly taken out the company’s dividend and assuming that the company has a fiscal, tax motivation for their greening, that is $122,000 less in the treasury of Racine or the state of Wisconsin. My question is will the grant money denied to the city as tax shelter total the money saved by the new windows? (I have shown that the solar panels will not pay for themselves.) Will the property owners of the city of Racine have to defer this absence of money?

Katrina, what grade are you in? I wasn’t aware of your existence.

Anonymous said...

Sam and Denis- If you are so worried about taxpayer money, (which the green school is not using) then tell me what the 300 million dollars that Racine county has spent on your war has gotten us.

Katrina said...

No,no, not at all. If we had not gotten the grant the money proubly would not have even spent in this county. Belive me we took two years to plan this and we have thought of every thing.

Denis Navratil said...

Katrina, thanks for your comments. I think we have covered most of the issues that you brought up. But I want to commend you on your ability to separate political/science issues from your shopping habits. I say this not in an effort to boost sales in my business- I think I have already demonstrated a certain recklessness in that regard- but rather to commend you on your ability to separate an individuals viewpoint from an individuals character. This will serve you well in life. Welcome to FreeRacine and keep those comments coming.

Anonymous said...

Denis, it is interesting the different ways you treat people who have different views about shopping at your store, yet have the same views as other people who you just write off as crazy. I thought you didn't mix business and politics.

Denis Navratil said...

I try not to mix business with politics, but I reserve the right to respond to those who do mix the two. I think that Katrina or whomever is better off if they are able to coexist with people with whom they disagree. The politics of personal destruction can be destructive for all involved. That is not a business statement anon. It is a political statement.

Shannon said...

I am a senior and Walden III and have watched this school band together in the green school effort and ultimately become closer because of it. You say that Walden students are indoctrinated into the movement, what do you think about sports at other schools? We do not have Green School pep rallies to gather support and we definitely do not create cliques based on who is helping the green school effort and who is not. As is evidenced by the conversation that is going on here between Michael and Sam.

I suppose what I really want to get across is that no matter what you think, Green School is happening, it has happened, and no one is going to stop it. Even if you think our effect is so "miniscule" on the environment (which its not), it's more than that. It's about creating something that our school can identify with and feel proud to be a part of. That is priceless.

Reserve Fund Study said...

The reason we need the money is not to add all kinds of bells and whistles to our school, but to simply fix what RUSD is avoiding.

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