Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Feeling Green

One year after challenging Walden students on their greening efforts (archives, Nov 20th 2007 Response to Walden Green Students) I got a comment from Shannon, a senior at Walden.

His last paragraph:

"I suppose what I really want to get accross is that no matter what you think, Green School is happening 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."

I know Shannon, I have known this all along. This is largely about pride and positive feelings, which you view as priceless. That might explain why so many took my challenge so personally. It's not really about the environment, its about feeling good, perhaps even superior to less enlightened saps like me.

And so I suppose what I really want to get accross Shannon is that, with respect to environmental and other important issues, your feelings and your pride are irrelevant. What matters is that we make the smartest possible decisions regarding the issue at stake. And it is clear thinking that will get us there, not your priceless feelings.


Matt D. said...

Getting into a insult match with high schoolers. +1

I like your style. I think you knocked him down a peg. One whole peg.

Anonymous said...

Yep, pretty insulting to ask for things like science and economics over feelings. Denis, you should be ashamed.

Denis Navratil said...

The point is not to knock him (her?) down a peg. Rather, it is to introduce the reality that his/her feelings, or mine or yours are not what is going to help solve difficult issues. In fact, a person primarily concerned with elevating their own feelings is probably a tad too narcissistic to be of much use addressing national or international concerns.

Shannon said...

To clear it up for you I am a girl. I suppose I have to thank you for writing your blog in the first place. It caused people at school to actually have a reaction and opinion about something.

The issue at hand is not that difficult. We wanted to make our school and community a better place for generations to come. I guess that was a bad idea, since you seem to be so angered by teenagers raising money for a school project. It is not my intention to insult you, but I don’t really understand why someone would get so angry about something that doesn’t really involve them.

Also, the pride that I feel was not the intention of Green School. Clear thinking was involved in writing the Constitution, yet Americans are proud of it. I don’t see the difference.

Denis Navratil said...

Thank you for your comments Shannon. I would like to clear up something as well. I was never angry about the proposed solar panel project. That would be silly. Rather, I thought it was a waste of money. If the objective was to reduce the use of fossil fuels then fixing the drafty windows would have been a more effective project. I know that WE Energies wasn't offering grants for that purpose, which suggests to me that they were more interested in the positive PR than in actually reducing the use of fossil fuels. So in that sense I thought Walden students (and the city of Racine for that matter) were being used as pawns by WE Energies.

Wanting to make your school and our community a better place is a wonderful goal that I share, though obviously we have quite divergent views as to how that might happen. But just because someone's goals or intentions are good doesn't mean that there actions will bring them closer to said goals. It depends on what those actions are. And those actions might be useful or harmful irrespective of your emotions, feelings of pride, good intentions etc...

Having pride in our Constitution is just fine but I don't think pride was the driving force for its authors.

And lastly I am glad that I was able to shake things up a bit at Walden. More than anything, I want young people to be exposed to the great diversity of ideas that our out there. Sadly I think that far too often they are primarily and unknowingly exposed to a far left ideology. I am on your side Shannon, whether you realize it or not.

Michael Gibson said...

Getting lonely Denis?

In case you didn't know, we (the Green School) co-sponsored a community block party last month. Students, parents, and teachers at Walden came out on a Saturday and helped put on an event for the neighborhood. It drew 200-300 neighbors from the community. If that isn't effective community involvement, I don't know what is.

Denis Navratil said...

Michael, I think I read about your block party. Regarding its effectiveness, I guess that depends on what your objectives were. But just getting 200 to 300 people to show up for a free meal is hardly proof of "effective community involvement." What were you trying to accomplish other than feeling good about your community involvement?

Anonymous said...

Nothing brings people together like instituting group victimhood. Too bad global warming hasn't been linked to voter disenfranchisement - yet.

It is wonderful, especially for young people, to have passion about trying to make a difference on this planet. I only wish that passion could be based upon a real issue. The green movement is great and should have happened long ago with the zeal that it is now, but the way the “science” of “global climate change” has been presented to the public is criminal.

There are differences that young people could be making right now that do not involve evil CO2 emissions, things that have been killing our planet for years and will continue to do so while people run around with signs protesting CO2 emissions. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Start an educational program to teach people what hazardous materials are and how to dispose of them properly – thousands of tons of chemicals including paint, nail polish remover, alcohol, propylene glycol (from antifreeze), and cleaning solutions are dumped into the water system by households (not to mention industry) each year and many of these cannot be removed by sewage treatment systems. Many of these chemicals have been proven to be detrimental to human and animal health.
2. We live in a boating area – and again with the education – many boaters end up dumping some ethylene glycol, oil and gasoline into the water each year. They might not be aware of how much even a little antifreeze hurts the environment
3. Hate coal plants because they release CO2? Guess what – they emit tons of mercury each year, and mercury in small quantities is teratogenic and causes liver and neural damage, and this has been known for many decades. Go and protest and educate about mercury poisoning of the environment, not the emission of a gas that we all exhale.
4. How many “green” people choose to go back to nature by buying a lot out in the country, tearing out natural habitat for plants and animals, and building an environmentally sound home? Advocate for people to cut through this hypocrisy and stop removing natural habitats to build homes.
5. Worry about food supply on the planet? Did you know that topsoil depth has decreased by over one third in some areas, like Iowa? Once the topsoil has been washed down the river – a process promoted by industrial farming – there will be no getting it back. The depletion of aquifers by irrigating these industrial farms creates another irreparable problem. Two more issues to think about.

Again, all of these things have been shown to be a true danger to the planet, but they aren’t as “sexy” as global warming. Perhaps this will help with a few discussions at the Green School.

Anonymous said...

Shannon - re: Constitution.
Not enough people are "proud" of our Constitution, by any means.
Take a look at how many people sing the national anthem at events.
If more people were "proud" of it and felt good about it (and themselves), and had a great community spirit, there would be loud singing.
If more people were "proud" of our Constitution we wouldn't let politician, from both major parites, ignore it so often.

colt said...

With respect my thought is if pride or caring about the enveroment help the kids understand that their actions do play a role however small is a good thing.
From picking up trash by the Root River to recycling at home all play a part in making Racine a better place to live.
Better to light a candle then to curse the darkness.
Myself I rather encourage anyone to take an active role to charge this City then to simply bitch about it.

Anonymous said...

Colt you are absolutely right. However, there are things that many homeowners and citizens do that are harmful and don't realize it. Everyone knows the litter along the river is bad, but don't realize that dumping a few ounces of leftover paint thinner down the drain is very bad.

Denis Navratil said...

Colt, just to be clear here, I am not suggesting that people shouldn't care about the environment. What I am saying is that actions taken toward a goal aren't automatically good just because they are motivated by a caring attitude. A goofy example: Someone could care deeply about my dog who always appears hungry. That caring attitude could inspire him to give my dog a pound of chocolate. This would likely kill my dog. Or take this real example. Many people cared very deeply about the negative effect of DDT on the environment. The use of DDT is banned all over the world. Millions of people in Africa have died of malaria even though small amounts of DDT may well have saved their lives. Caring, by itself is no guarantee that the actions undertaken will be good. We all need to realize this, even if it hurts people's feelings.

Urban Pioneer said...

Random Thoughts:
Wow A Community Block Party!! I wonder how hard it is to get 200-300 people to show up for something free within a few blocks of Walden.
Michael Did U teach any of those freeloaders to Fish? Or rather did you once again demonstrate via your "warm/ Green Feelings" that if wait around long enough on your but, some do-gooder with a guilt complex will throw you a party, and feed you and your kids for free. Like the guy whose running for President and promising to Steal from the productive and give to the Sloth...(sharing the Wealth he calls it, I call it Socialism....because it is).
I'll bet there was more than one ACORN representative there at the party registering those free-loaders to vote, too. I know at Party on the Pavement they were chasing down the Likely suspects to get them registered.

But lets all feel warm and fuzzy, and vote for the guy who's turn it is, and we'll let him destroy even more lives economically, and watch America become the same economic success of France. And we can all be unemployed and unempoyable victims..
BTW Shannon, Michael Thanks for bringing this discussion back to forefront, and Welcome to the discussion, I look forward to hearing more from you as u have a chance to defend the Liberal tripe you have been feed at the Purple Hair school. Pay close attention to how few things you've been taught will actually hold up in the real world.. You can't paint a mural and solve global hunger, no matter how much decompage and swirls of Glitter you might put on it.
When more Businesses decide to take jobs out of the US to somewhere more friendly to their taxable income, who will pay the American Workers to buy your "Art" ?
In fact it's cheaper to manufacturer Environmentally friendly products in China and Africa...

I know my comments come across a Snarky, but behind the humour are real and honest points. Celebrate the "diversity" of my Sarcasm, but pay attention to the facts.

Urban Pioneer said...

BTW Shannon your posting the other day caused an Automatic e mail to my attention, and subsequently I went back and reread all of the comments posted Last November on the Walden Green subject.
Amoung the many mis-statements made was the increasing number of Cat 4 and 5 Hurricanes we would expect. Another was the rising level of the Ocean within 13 years up to the level of the WTC Ground Zero site.

But I remembered my own posting of what a waste of money this project was because Walden wouldn't be around long enough to reap the benefits of the Solar Panels because of obsolescence of the Building, and the Money/ Project was a waste. Today I refer you to :Racine post/ Journal Times article.

It looks like we be replacing the building in stead of just the one window in the Science classroom.

LMFAO again....But don't worry we will WASTE millions of dollars on the replacement school, which then will defaced with Collages and Murals which express the inner peace and strong emotions of the student population.

colt said...

Using your Dog example you are right. Using the idea of say "Greening" the area is not.
Motivating anyone to take better care of the Earth because they care and teaching them actions such as picking up trash recycling reducing power use at home etc are all very good things.
At REC they use motivated kids to do most of the work for free, yes some of the kids believe in dumb things some might even vote for the Son of God I mean Obama (sorry) Hope not. If however there efforts to see this City better all for it. Want to see more of it.
Maybe by working WITH them I can help educate on other subjects dismissing the efforts only allows them to only influenced by RUSD and other groups I dislike. Why I am working next to them they see my efforts the high and mighty telling are not there only running there mouths