Absolem and Puff inspire today’s Green monsters Education

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By Duggan Flanakin 

Absolem, Lewis Carroll’s blue caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, smokes a hookah to pose as a creature of great wisdom. He blows smoke in Alice’s face and does little or nothing to help her escape a horrible fate planned by the Queen of Hearts.

Puff, many may recall, is “the magic dragon” immortalized by Peter, Paul and Mary, who borrowed the dragon from a poem by Leonard Lipton. Puff was friends with Little Jackie Paper until the lad grew up and the sad dragon “sadly slipped into his cave.”

Today’s “net zero” advocates are like little Alices smoking hookahs (or something else) with imaginary Absolems while pressing society toward unreachable goals and condemning anyone who fails to fall into line with their militarist vision.

Latest in the line of fantasists is Michigan state representative Yousef Rabhi (D), who has proposed legislation that would require the state to transition to 100 percent “renewable energy” (wind, solar, and little else) by 2035 – a mere dozen years from now.

Of course, the lawmaker, who has a long record of pushing the envelope on green issues, dodged questions from reporters. There is nothing in the bill, and perhaps nothing in Rabhi’s head, to answer the obvious question: Renewables today account for just 11 percent of Michigan’s energy, so how can Michigan physically achieve 100 percent renewables in just 12 years?”

But this is nothing new. Moses warned millennia ago that when the words of the prophet do not come to pass, we should no longer fear that prophet or the prophecies. So let’s see.

Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 blockbusterThe Population Bomb, predicted worldwide famine in which “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death…. The battle to feed all of humanity is over. [Humanity lost.]” The book also inaugurated a worldwide wave of repression that included forced sterilizations from Mexico to Bangladesh – and most notably in India and China.

In the real world, despite some localized events, famine has become rarer. In 1968, a quarter of Earth’s people were hungry; today, one in 10, despite a doubling of world population. Of course, when Thomas Malthus penned An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, twin insurrections in Ireland brought on back-to-back harvest failures, but politicians and policy makers acted to stave off distress and public disorder, resulting in “The Famine That Wasn’t.”

Frustrated by humanity’s continued march, Endgame author Derrick Jensen and two colleagues laid out a plan for Deep Green Resistance in 2011. Their thesis: “The dominant culture -civilization – is killing the planet, and it is long past time for those of us who care about life on Earth to begin taking the actions necessary to stop this culture from destroying every living thing.”

In short, they issued a clarion call to “totally tear down the corporate capitalist economic system, and even civilization itself.”

Once again, people take a back seat to the planet – idolizing the creation, one might say.

One might think as well that those enraptured by wind and solar energy believe these resources are part of the great retraction – moving back to nature’s energy. Yet these twin, heavily subsidized behemoths in truth represent the ultimate in high tech.

They also epitomize the folly of “putting all one’s eggs into a single basket.”

In a recent essay, Andrew L. Urban, author of Zelensky: The Unlikely Ukrainian Hero Who Defied Putin and United the World, writes of “the inevitably painful consequences of unfounded climate alarmism” that have hit home. When his fellows wonder, “Why are we suddenly running short of ridiculously expensive energy,” he points to the “real straw man, life-giving natural gas,” that has been demonized by political activists for more than three decades.

In a rational government, Urban posits, alarming climate claims would be scrutinized, and verifiable facts would play a key role. But today’s hookah-puffing green monsters manufacture imagined evils from the failure to “reach net zero” and hold global temperature rise to a maximum 1.5o C, placing all the blame on life-giving carbon dioxide.

Urban disposes of key claims by climate zealots: extreme weather events are not increasing; Pacific islands are not sinking; polar bear populations are increasing; and the planet is greening, not browning up. Despite these easily proven facts, Urban laments that “the climate-alarm-gullible parts of the world … are torn asunder by fearmongering activists, politicians, investment opportunists, and well-meaning but ignorant sheeple, all identifying as saviors of our planet.”

The end result? “Installing fear of catastrophic global warming has thus become the tool to forge policy without scrutiny.” The barrage is endless. Just look at the “10 signs” disaster is looming.

Seven years ago author John C. Wright published an exhaustive list of “things supposedly caused by global warming” that included “Atlantic more salty, Atlantic less salty,” “brain eating amoebae,” “Earth slowing down, Earth spins faster, Earth to explode,” and hundreds more – “and all on 0.006o C per year!”

Time flies, and the list by now is likely twice as long. The entirety of academia seemingly revolves around identifying new horrors caused by carbon dioxide. And smoking Absolem’s hookah.

Perhaps, though, it is time to leave behind the imaginary world of Puff!

This article originally appeared at Real Clear Energy


  • Duggan FlanakinDuggan Flanakin
  • Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas.
  • A brief history of his multifaceted career appears in his book, “Infinite Galaxies: Poems from the Dugout.”