A few things to remember as you organize
Cynthia Beal's notes:
1. Everyone has something they'll need to do between now and
December 31, 1999 -- and it might as well be now if everyone else is
going to be doing it later.
2. There are only individual responses to this problem; even when we act
as a group, an individual's needs will supercede the group's if they are
severe enough. Your utility's y2k coordinator may not stay on if their
mother, in a far away state, needs help . Communities must manage y2k as
human resources challenge, on top of everything else. Expecting people to
put aside their personal needs for the needs of the group is something to
be hoped for, but forcing it to happen - and setting the stage so that we
will have to force people to do so - is a mistake that can still be
3. There are many different levels at which people will feel comfortable
responding, since the risks are known, but people disagree strongly on
their probabilities. Consider letting everyone find their level, while
focusing on community and environmental health and safety primarily, life
critical business and organizational functions secondarily - raising
awareness in your community should take care of the needs of businesses
without much intervention (different from "support", which is
needed), as long as there is accurate information provided about the real
status of infrastructure readiness. i.e., If your airport is probably
going to have problems, people need to know, and not at the last minute,
Make sure that everyone being paid/counted on to be there if a problem
emerges is able to be there: Red Cross, City and County Governance,
infrastructure providers like telecom, air, transport, mail, fuel, power,
water, sewer, food, etc. Find a way to bring action into the open, and
then write about it and share it with the rest of us!
4. There are many of us around to help each other.
Visit the Millennium Salons:
Consider joining our listserv
conversations on community preparedness.
Harlan Smith's note to Henry Strauss of Mt. Dora, FL (population
A "grassroots community effort" is a two-edged sword. It is helpful
everybody calibrated and involved and pick up things that have fallen in
the crack. It can also be destructive if everybody takes up the time of
government workers at all levels to ask for re-assurance that everything
A constructive thing you might propose is that you volunteer to be liaison
with the community to communicate the story that everything's OK (if it
and perhaps indicate where there might legitimate reason to worry. But
don't just run around getting everybody all stirred up and destructively
taking the time of people at town hall (or whatever it is in a community
Please remember that everybody's Y2K problem is unique. If people just
me "What should I do about Y2K?", all I can do is reply "What
is the nature
of the infrastructure you depend on?". That must be identified and
implementation with PCs, "embedded systems", mid-range computers
be identified before I can remotely be of any assistance.
I strongly recommend that you scribe a circle on a map around Mt. Dora and
try to find someone like yourself (could be seniors or bright highschool
kids) in each community that is willing to load ICQ on their computers and
compare notes at least once/week. I would be willing to try and participate
in such group endeavor occasionally.
We all need to get a very good feeling of just where the problems might
surface. I think that your community of 9,000 is too small to begin to deal
with the problem effectively. It does not comprehend all the infrastructure
you rely on such as medical centers, electric utilities, water supply, 911
service, county emergency management, etc. Let's work at a level of say
50,000 people or more.
When you start working at this level, you should soon see that one town
doing good things and another is not. You will also see that you have
problems in common, so you can join forces to correct those shared
problems. Maybe the towns that do understand the problem and are doing the
right things will share their knowledge with the ones that are lagging.
you present that kind of picture, you won't have to do much arguing to get
the laggards to improve.
A comparative assessment of where each town is with respect to its
preparation for Y2K would be immensely useful. It would vividly point out
where certain towns need to take more action. If surrounding towns are not
in good shape, it will affect you! Let's work together to make your
cluster of communities a model Y2K community.
See also The Challenge of Nurturing Self-Organized
Y2K Responses by Tom Atlee