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Is there a phoenix rising from these ashes?




Dear friends,

If you are someone who would like to see the community momentum continue, here's some heartening information.

Y2K community organizers Bayard Stockton <> and Martin Jones <> have suggested to the CivicPrep listserv that an effort be made to keep organizers linked and active, even if there are no significant Y2K disruptions.  Bayard writes:  "What we seem to headed towards is a loose, positive grouping of local organizations, each with its own priorities and commitments, but each with a desire to capitalize on the networking and support that CivicPrep has so successfully offered."  They are calling their initiative Community First, and a number of people on CivicPrep have joined them and are developing the idea (see the note from Barb, below).  I know there are many of you who aren't on the CivicPrep list serv, so I'm letting you know this is happening.  You can join CivicPrep by sending a message to .  Or you can just send an email to Bayard or Martin directly.

Many community organizers are proceeding with their local groups regardless of what happens with the larger Y2K network.  This, too, I think is very healthy.  One of the more inspiring writeups of this in a local community comes from Christina Baldwin, Whidbey Island's Y2K coordinator (forwarded by Meg Wheatley and Jan Nickerson).

If business as usual is destined to rein supreme for a while longer, perhaps we can change business as usual, itself, to mean turning towards each other instead of away.  Perhaps we choose neighbor and nature over the noise of the marketplace, entertainment, busyness -- not because the infrastructure is collapsing, but because there's more juice, aliveness and resilience there...



_ _ _ _ _

I think Community First is a great idea!  Communities within communities
coming together to help one another should be the focus of our new
century.  Communities reaching out to those around them was what the Y2K
effort was all about.  There is a grassroots effort now all over the
world .... made up of people who were concerned enough about the
implications of Y2K to reach out to those around them.  If we can carry
that same sense of purpose and spirit forward into the new century,
wouldn't that be wonderful and fitting of a new beginning?  Y2K
regardless of how perplexing it was and still is .... was a wake-up call
to the world really.  It spoke of how vulnerable we are to technology
and to each other and to our planet.  Community First should build off
that.  Great idea and way to keep the Y2K network alive and growing.

Peace & Hope,
Barb <>

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Oh Brave New World
Christina Baldwin, Whidbey Island's Y2K coordinator

Those who read my December 29 column may remember that amid information on
grocery stores, gas stations and banks, I spoke of rainbows, and
metaphorically suggested the end of rainbow was coming with Y2K. I am happy
to report that this most unlikely prediction is the one that came true. 

On New Year's Day, taking advantage of a few hours of afternoon sun, my friend
and I went on a long bike ride and were headed up Bush Point Road toward
home when a sudden shower blew in from the Sound. Sun slanted through rain,
and at 4:00 PM on January 1, 2000, the rainbow touched down in a horse
pasture at Shore Meadows Road. I turned my bike down the gravel lane toward
a line of Doug fir a few hundred feet away that shimmered in soft pastels. A
brown horse turned colors as it walked through the illusion. Oh, I wanted to
be washed in those colors, but could only stand beside and watch. 

What a metaphor this is for all that happened on New Year's Eve. As the midnight
hour turned and turned, 450 million people watched our televised Global
Moment and participated in a sense that something new is coming that will
touch us all. There was no terrorism, no nuclear meltdown, no crashing of
essential systems, even in countries that had been deemed vulnerable to such

This success was achieved through incalculable hours of human
endeavor as people worked toward the dream that became reality: safety and
cooperation on a global scale. Locally, nationally, globally, we have lived
through the 20th century's final threat and now face the 21st century's first

I still believe it is better to have a plan and no disaster, than to have a
disaster and no plan. I am grateful this past year spurred many islanders
to a level of realistic self-reliance we hadn't quite gotten around to until
Y2K became a kind of target date. For those who put together a week's
worth of food, water, and self-care, we will still need these things, just
not on a date we can predict.

Many people remain interested in Community Emergency Response Team training,
in joining radio communication networks, in rotating food through a pantry
system, and in planting gardens, and Neighbor to Neighbor plans to continue
supporting these programs. Our community is better knit now than it was a
year ago because hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people on our end of the
rock, took time to get to know their neighbors, discovering ways to talk
with each other, share resources and concerns, and practice random acts
of kindness.  This is a rainbow that blesses everyone! 

In the summer of 1998, a group of people gathered who were clearly concerned
over what appeared to be looming technological threat. As they questioned
what to call themselves, it is significant that Y2K, though it was their
primary motivator at the time, was never mentioned in their name. They become
the founders of the South Whidbey Community Resilience Project. Almost
immediately, they, and all who joined this work in the past seventeen months,
began expanding the vision of what was needed.  In 1999, creative people,
both technical and communitarian, had to focus on the computer problem and
prepare for unknown consequences. The vision of community extended
by SWCRP and Neighbor to Neighbor was often accompanied by fear. Y2K,
earthquakes, the nightly news, all motivate us to look at our lives and take
actions we hope will improve our chances. Such appraisal is still valid.
Anyone over the age of five knows that big changes are required in this new
century if we are to survive. But, because so many people took
appropriate action, the threat of global disaster was transformed into
the first world-wide life-affirming celebration of the new millennium.

We are not the same in January as we were in December. We have a
collective opportunity to take the lesson of New Year's Eve and trade in
fear for renewed confidence in our ability to shape the world. There are a
variety of ways to instill community in a neighborhood: preparedness is only
one of them. We've started something in our neighborhoods that is harder to
name, more diffuse in practice, and impossible to finish, yet is ultimately
far more satisfying. We've started to rebuild our sense of "village."

We claim that in the midst of growth, we want to retain the best sense of "old
island" supporting each other, helping our elders, and nurturing our
children. We are looking up from habits of isolation that captured us in the
last century and considering the possibility that we might choose to make
changes, rather than be threatened into them. 

Many people became involved with the Resilience Project who had little
interest in Y2K, and only a grudging, okay-I'll-do-it attitude toward
emergency preparation. They came to meetings and organized their
neighborhoods because they wanted to experience community.

SWCRP is now at the beginning of its next task: to lead, respond to, and
foster this longing for increased community.  We are looking for creative
ways to undertake this task and to find our place among the wonderful
efforts that already exist. If you have an idea or comment, please call the
Neighbor to Neighbor phone line: 221-5781, watch for news of
our upcoming meetings, become a coordinator in your neighborhood, and
generally join in the discussion of possibilities.

We don't know what we are going to do next: we know that having found each
other we intend to keep going. Last May, editor Jim Larsen agreed to support
our neighborly work by providing space for this column. The first cycle of
our work has been accomplished, and today's column completes a story of our
community'sjourney toward century's turn.  While I will not be writing
every other week in the coming year, I will write news articles and guest
columns about the ongoing work of resiliency and Neighbor to Neighbor.
I also encourage other voices to come forward, to write viewpoints and
letters, and keep calling the diverse and vibrant community of South
Whidbey into this conversation.  And I send you many blessings in this
brave new world that has us in it.


Mantra for the Millennium
Maintain peace of mind.
Practice certainty of purpose.
Surrender to surprises.
Move at the pace of guidance.
Ask for what you need.
Love the folks in front of you.

Please share this mantra and credit with author's name and web-site address:

Christina Baldwin <>