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Things we'd like to see done regarding Y2K

This list of Y2K projects is a sample of the sort of thing we are working on at the Co-Intelligence Institute. Actually, we don't have the funding to pursue projects, as such. For that, we'd need a project director. What we do at our current level of funding is spark activities in all these areas and any others where action seems needed or ripe. If you want to help us expand our ability to work in these areas -- or if you'd like to find out more about contributing to our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization -- contact:

The Co-Intelligence Institute
P.O. Box 21203
Oakland, CA 94620-1203

The Projects (more will come)

0) Y2K POLITICAL ACTION PROJECT: National, state and local Y2K policies and programs will have a gigantic effect on how the crisis unfolds. Grassroots action can be helped, hindered, or made irrelevant by such government efforts. The lives and deaths of literally millions of people will be determined by government action or inaction -- especially if infrastructure fails in the middle of winter, January 2000. A strong-handed military or fascistic response could seriously undermine our efforts to make this crisis into a positive change for the better. It is extremely important who is elected in November 1998, and what the political climate is in the following year, to ensure that government action is positive, timely and effective. Perhaps the most important immediate step is getting politicians to take a stand on the need for guranteeing the Y2K-readiness of the basic minimal infrastructure to support populations (water, basic food, waste treatment, basic health care, etc.) and to mobilize the election of politicians who take a positive stand on this. This must be done in four months, which is very little time.

1) Y2K CULTURAL CREATIVES OUTREACH PROJECT: Market researcher Paul Ray reports that 24% of U.S. adults are "Cultural Creatives" -- people with strong social and environmental values. They are interested in personal development and spiritual/psychological issues, and leading edge ideas in human and natural sciences and other fields (although they aren't fascinated by technology; they tend to use sufficient technology for their needs, but not pursue it for its own sake). They think systemically more readily than most Americans and they do lots of community volunteer work, social change work or other forms of social responsibility. These qualities make them ideal as early adopters of Y2K-breakthrough understandings and early organizers of community and societal responses to Y2K. We will try to reach them through certain organizations, media and leaders to which they are connected, alerting them to this crisis and suggesting ways they might creatively relate to it.

2) Y2K STORY PROJECT: We need to get useful stories out into our culture's "story field" on this subject. The story field is currently filled with stories of doom-and-gloom, "it's no problem," "save yourself and your family/organization" (through survivalism, secrecy or legal strategies), etc., which are of limited use in our breakthrough efforts. Here are some examples of the kinds of stories we need See A Y2K Call to Our Culture's Storytellers

3) Y2K BREAKTHROUGH FINANCING PROJECT: Getting the philanthropic and investment communities to see this as a chance to make a real difference, and to thereby transform their own sense of their role in society for the long-term.

4) Y2K ACTIVIST OUTREACH PROJECT: Entering into the existing world of activists and community workers to help them align their diverse issues with Y2K as an opportunity for major progress on their various agendas. This can be done as coalitions, or just as a shared vision of how they would all fit together even if they are all operating independently. In a sense, a Y2K collapse of the industrial/patriarchal/dominating/centralized forms of power provides what the destructive half of a revolution provides; the positive half of the revolution is up to activists to create, using this opportunity. The communist system fell. Now the global capitalist system might. Are activists prepared to put sustainable, community-based cultures in its place?

5) Y2K COMMUNITY RESILIENCE OPEN SPACE PROJECT: Organizing Open Space conferences which mix Y2K community activists with veteran community organizers and specialists in sustainable technology which, if applied broadly and well, could be useful in sustaining communities. Ideally, we'd do one such conference nationally and record some of its results (in writing or video/audio tape), and then use those results to stimulate subsequent state-wide conferences, which in turn could stimulate local conferences -- all of which COULD be done within 6 months.

6) Y2K-BREAKTHROUGH Q&A PROJECT: FAQs or Q&As (lists of frequently-asked questions and their answers) regarding (a) the extent of the potential crisis and (b) the rationale for and meaning of community-oriented and transformational approaches to it. These lists will be designed to speed people's evolution towards creative participation in community efforts, regardless of how significant a crisis Y2K develops into. These lists would be put up on the web and continually updated.

7) Y2K EMOTION PROJECT: Getting various forms of "despair and empowerment" work being done, to help people get through their fear, grief, despair, denial and powerlessness regarding Y2K (and other related dangers), to contact their spiritual roots, their deep caring and their capacity to work together to create something good out of all this. Karen Mercer, John Steiner and others who were involved in such work being done in the 1980s around the nuclear threat have begun applying those understandings to Y2K. We want to develop and promote this process.

8) COMMUNITY CO-INTELLIGENCE PROJECT: Setting up community collective intelligence systems: specifically, a series of regular monthly dialogues that are easily done by ordinary people (Open Space, Listening Circles, story-sharing groups, "World Cafe" process, etc.), so that the citizens of a town or neighborhood can regularly come together to process what has been happening with them and what they've been doing arouind Y2K. This would be tied in with emotional work (see 2, above), educational workshops, action groups, and a function that records emerging community knowledge and wisdom for future use (and use by other communities). If the whole thing is designed for ready local self-organization and posted on the web such that those who use the model could share their experiences with it, it could spread and evolve quite rapidly. (See The Co-Intelligence Dimension of Y2K)

9) Y2K COMMUNITY DATABASE/CHECKLIST PROJECT: Development of what communities can DO. We have developed the rationale for community-based responses. Now we have to provide some leadership (or some organized opportunities for self-leadership) and a chance for communities to share their experiments and evolve an increasingly real "TO DO" list that late starters can benefit from. This would include ways to assess community assets and needs in meeting this challenge.

10) Y2K CULTURE/HUMOR PROJECT: Encouraging, gathering and circulating Y2K humor, songs, quotes, poetry, artwork, etc. Y2K is a fantastically heavy and/or divisive event. We'll need a lot of lighter and humanly reflective material to help sustain us as we work through it.

11) Y2K SELF-ORGANIZED INVOLVEMENT PROJECT: Providing guidelines useful to ordinary citizens in assessing their own gifts, connections, capacities in service of Y2K community or breakthrough activities. Once someone comes to the realization that they have some positive role to play, they can often use help in clarifying what, exactly, that role should be. This could take the form of a handout, an article, a tape, a web page, or even a network of pratitioners or support groups. (See Your unique role in addressing Y2K)

12) Y2K RESOURCE MATERIALS PROJECT: The creation and spreading of resource materials of all kinds. For example, one of our friends has suddenly found her voice around this issue and is making some incredible speeches on it. If these could be made into cheap tape recordings that anyone could copy and pass on, it could have a powerful impact.

13) Y2K GRASSROOTS COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS PROJECT: From a transformational perspective, one of the most important post-Y2K infrastructure issues is communication, so that communties and change agents can be in touch with each other to give and receive information and support. We could further the process of thinking about this in all its dimensions. The chances are that different areas will need (unpredictably) different modes of communication to deal with diverse breakdowns in existing communication systems. Cell phones, short wave, web, bicycle messengers, etc., all need to exist in readiness to be woven into something workable, regardless of what happens 1/2000.

14) Y2K LEADERSHIP SUPPORT PROJECT: Support for creative leadership needs to be arranged. Y2K will be a very difficult time, with leaders arising and, because of the stresses and the diversity of values and sanity levels among the population, good leaders will be attacked. We need to make this explicit among those who favor community-oriented and breakthrough approaches -- that they must be ready to support good leaders and not to backbite them into ineffectiveness. Exactly what this means needs to be thoroughly dialogued about ahead of time.

15) Y2K-BREAKTHROUGH PUBLICATIONS PROJECT: Most people don't use the Web -- and even those that do, seldom read whole sites, or even read whole pages on sites. Most of what's on this site will not be seen by well over 99% of the population of the U.S. -- unless it is published as articles, booklets, or books. This will require considerable planning, editing, production, promotion and distribution. Are you interested in helping on this -- as a volunteer or financially? There's ample printed material on the Y2K problem and how to try to survive, but hardly any on the Y2K Breakthrough Opportunity and how to use it to build resilient communities. Let's get the word out!

16) Y2K RADIO PROGRAM PROJECT: We'd like to see a national commercial radio station that could help communities organize themselves and learn from each other about Y2K-related work. (See Y2K Community Radio Project Proposal)