Wisdom: What’s Your One Parting Shot?

The one thing I hate about the prospect of dying someday—other than not knowing how things come out with the grandkids or the Giants—is that each brain has a library in it and when the brain goes, so does the library—burned down like the famous library in Alexandria. It bothers me—all that hard work gaining knowledge…all those good ideas and facts that could benefit others now gone to dust—unless, of course, each of us records the one most vivid fact we think is vital for the world to know.

Words on paper, video or audio recording, a blog like this—it doesn’t matter as long as our bits of wisdom don’t get lost. And they will unless we take the time to put them down.

So I ask myself and you—what’s the one idea, insight or piece of advice you’d like to leave behind? Never fry bacon naked? Life is too short to stuff a mushroom? Well, those are my second-tier wisdom-ettes. My first concern and parting shot of wisdom would be something that humans need to know and act upon or the species is going to massively expand the trouble it is already in.

Too many people on too small a planet

By James Gridland


Overpopulation. We add 18 million people to the planet each year, but it happens so imperceptively that it escapes notice until you’re in a traffic jam or told that you need to ration water or that the world population will double in 50 years. Double trouble with natural resources—water, food, air—our natural habitat. But few people talk about it—not since Paul Ehrlich and the ’60’s.

But here’s what’s happening while we fiddle:  To see, click on this short video for the famous “dot” piece. It’s fascinating to see what’s happened to us from year 1 AD on up.

So, since too many people are at the root of many of our problems—air, water, food, traffic, health, pollution, energy—why are we not giving out condoms like popcorn?

For starters: Ignorance of the issues, dysfunctional religious opinions, reluctance to talk about sex, inadequate birth control distribution channels, the old-fashioned idea that it’s our duty to populate the earth, inability to look ahead, narrow focus only on the here and now, corporations wanting more consumers, people making love when they’re drunk or on drugs and forgetting precautions and the abortion issue clouding up the whole matter as if abortion were anything anyone preferred over plain old effective methods of contraception such as the condom, the pill, the IUD, the morning after pills and other ways of keeping the sperm away from the egg.

So, it’s all those things plus the positive publicity given to people who have 18 children. Isn’t that cute? Not in my book. Population issues aside, try giving quality time and adequate education to 18 kids.

So that would be my one parting piece of advice: Pay attention to population issues. If you don’t feel the hurt now—you will—we will. Check out these organizations and donate if they make sense to you:

http://www.populationconnection.org   http://www.plannedparenthood.org


Our children will certainly feel it and if the world keeps adding 18 million people every year, adding to the warming climate,  our grandchildren are going to be leaving the too hot and dry parts of the lower 48 and living in Alaska or Northern Alberta where the climate has turned temperate because of global warming and darn, it will be too far away for them to come to your house for Thanksgiving. Not that they could make it through the traffic.

By GJ Lingaraj

If you have your own soapbox to mount, your own favorite piece of advice, kindly help yourself to the comment section below. And if you are reluctant to express an opinion, I offer some folk wisdom that I’ve posted on the fridge door:

Be who you is, because if you is who you ain’t, you ain’t who you is.

So be who you is and bless your soul for risking it.


  1. I agree with what you say, Mel, but population control is a tough, dangerous subject politically because it can swing a person into the far right anti-immigration crowd: kick out the foreigners…and then, who knows, other undesirables, whoever they may be thought to be. Sensible immigration reform would help control our population but it seems to be beyond the ability of Congress, along with most every other serious problem facing our county.

    So I guess it’s up to each individual of child-bearing age, as you suggest, with geezers like us left to offer advice and donate our time and money.

  2. My parting shot is: Never stop learning and moving the body, and “Latch on..to the affirmative; Eliminate..the negative; Spread joy….etc.” I’m 83, moved to Grass Valley three years ago to be near family, exchanging 1400 sq.ft. for 950 sq.ft. Less possessions and space to clutter is good, but a challenge I am enjoying.

    Hope Sierra College repeats the Cultural Geography class that Annette wrote about.
    I’m telling others about the Geezer Diary (the population video is scary!).

  3. How true, how true! I’m currently in a Cultural Geography class at Sierra College and we just studied population, in particular “over”. The map is great–and scary if you think of the implications of how fast the dots are adding up. And Americans are a big part of the problem because we are so clueless about the rest of the world; only grabbing as much as we each can, regardless of the impact elsewhere. Good article.

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