What Changed and What Did Not — In My Lifetime

Population change 1960 to 2000 . . . Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16543470

We moved to California in 1961. California had grown. Not in area, of course. In population. When I was a child, I used to talk to people who remembered when the state had fewer than 100,000 people. The whole state.

Even in 1961 I didn’t feel crowded. When I wanted to be noticed for my professional or political work, it wasn’t difficult. When I wanted to talk to anybody, even the President or Governor, I could (if persistent). I took walks with famous authors. As a writer, I was read. People were literate, and interested.

I read a lot. Do you read westerns? There is no better way to understand the mind of a Californio like me. Everybody was important.

Please take a moment to consider what I’ve just said. Take it in and picture it. Later, maybe read a Louis L’Amour story. It won’t matter which one.

What has really changed is peoples’ mindset. Faced with the consequences of grotesque overpopulation (from having babies, by the way), the inevitable is occurring. As it always does to a swarming species. The die-off. This should be good news for those who want an outside agency to deal with overpopulation. Done. Mother nature’s got it handled.

The tiny percentage of humans who survive this sixth mass extinction on Earth (about a tenth of one percent) will get to start over, perhaps this time deciding to use birth control, perhaps not. Best that they decide yes, because the Earth will never be the paradise we used to have.

I find it unfathomable… people who are optimistic (somebody will fix this), people who are claiming a right to live and to survive (who decided that right?), or people in complete denial, trying to hold on to their cars and furniture, their junk food and the water that comes in pipes. Those things are anomalies for Homo insapiens.

People needing internet and smartphones? That was how they got stupid in the first place.

I’m not as bitter as I sound. I got to live and grow up in paradise. The elements of paradise that still exist make me happy enough. I don’t terribly mind that the environment has become deadly. It’s always something… though in the past not quite so ubiquitous. Oh well. Luckily I’m old enough to escape through dying. Yeah, not being afraid of dying sure liberates a guy. I mean that truly.

Am I bitter and pissed off at my fellow man? Yes I am. A little acceptance (by them) would be a lot better. Any device that “notifies” them of inconsequential happenings could be put away for a year or five years. Cancel the internet, go somewhere and spend 10 days with some indigenous people. Now that is an amazing experience.

Or stay terrified of life. Which really means, “death.” Be angry (at whom?), complain on Twitter (that’ll fix-em). Eat more junk food. Drink more. Gotta die someday. That’ll show ’em.

“They should do something! . . . ”

-we never found out who “they” were




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Fred Ermlich

Fred Ermlich


Living in rural Panamá — non-extractive, non-capitalistic. Expat USA. Scientist, writer, researcher, teacher. STEM mentor +languages. Gargoylplex@protonmail.com