Your unique role in addressing Y2K
The Year 2000 crisis came about because of the actions and interconnections
of computers and technological systems. The Year 2000 problem will be dealt
with by the actions and interconnections of people with each other and with
the natural world.
Now is a good time to realize your unique role in the world, and take the
reins. Now is a powerful time to wake up to your unique capabilities and
connections, to take responsibility for them, and to use them to make a
difference in the life of your community and the fate of your culture. Y2K
has created the right time to do this -- individually and together with
There's a lot you can do. This page proves it (as do other pages on this
site). There's no need to ask rhetorically, helplessly, "What can
one person do?" Now is the time to ask that question for real.
Ask it to find real answers that are right for you. Then take action,
however small. The hardest part is doing one thing, the first thing.
Once you've taken one action, you'll have begun your journey into your
full power in this world. As you go, you'll know better and better how
to go forward. Imagine you are one of millions doing this -- because you
At the end of that journey together, we'll have a very different world.
If we all do our part, it may just be the world we've always wanted.
If you are a professional
- Talk to your professional colleagues about Y2K. Write articles for
professional publications. Run workshops and breakout sessions at professional
conferences. Communicate with your colleagues through professional networks,
- Work out how your profession can be of service. For example:
- Engineers can help address infrastructure problems or promote sustainable
- Medical professionals can ensure that basic health care services
are available post-Y2K, and that public health and sanitation needs are
prepared for. If medical equipment and modern drugs may be unavailable,
low-tech approaches should be promoted, such as prevention, herbalism, and
community health volunteerism.
- Educators can develop Y2K- and community-preparedness-related curricula
(for both youth and adult education), help make school spaces available
for community preparedness activities, help engage the creative energy of
children in community preparedness (they are often the best way to involve
parents) and engage academics and graduate students in needed research (such
as clarifying what enhances or undermines community resilience and pro-social
responses to catastrophe).
- Mental health workers can help people work through their emotional
responses to Y2K and set up emergency hotlines for people in crisis.
- Journalists can research and publish stories of successful community
preparedness activities and dramatic human interest stories that empower
readers to respond creatively to this crisis.
- Activists can work out how Y2K relates to their traditional issues,
and do their activism in ways that enhance the ability of communities to
respond. (See "A call for a progressive
- Spiritual leaders can call their spiritual communities into preparedness,
service and spiritual growth. (See Rev.
Dacia Reid's Y2K site)
- Politicans and civil service workers can find out how prepared their
agency or level of government is for the year 2000, and urge those in charge
to look beyond the readiness of their computer systems to the preparedness
of the communities they are responsible for -- especially vital infrastructure
like food, water and sewage.
- You get the idea. Now think about your profession. If you
have trouble thinking of what your profession can do to help, contact us
at email@example.com. We'll work on it
and post the results here. If you send us reports on what you're doing in
your profession, we'll summarize them here.
If you know anyone who is a professional, talk
with them about Y2K and encourage them to do the type of reflection and
activity described above. This will greatly magnify your impact on how
this enormous event unfolds.
Make a list of other people you know, and contact them.
- By yourself, consider all your friends and family. Think about how
to talk with them about Y2K. Decide who you are going to contact this week,
then do it. Next week pick another few, and talk to them. Add to your list
as you go along. Encourage them to do the same with their friends.
Refer them to this site or give them print-outs of your favorite articles.
Help them think about what their own response will be.
- With a group of friends, neighbors or Y2K-concerned fellow citizens,
brainstorm who you each know who might be able to make a significant difference
in how the Y2K situation unfolds. (A group of 6 of us came up with over
50 significant individuals, organizations, agencies, media, networks, etc.,
that we had personal connections with. One person's connections would remind
someone else of someone they knew. That's why it's good to do this in a
group.) Then figure out who can contact who when, and get started.
Make a list of the groups and organizations you are connected to
-- churches or temples, community groups, special interest organizations,
clubs, activity groups, political parties, and so on. Start with any that
have particular power in your community or country, or in which you hold
a position of power or respect. Look at their reason for existence, and
how Y2K relates to that. Choose who to communicate to, and how, and then
do it. Then move on to other groups. It may make sense for you to create
a small group within certain organizations to promote their involvement
in Y2K. Don't forget your favorite neighborhood stores, libraries, etc.
You can help them prepare using the Small
Business-Owners Year 2000 Readiness Checklist.
Make a list of at least ten government officials, politicians or
agencies who are supposed to be serving you. If you do this with
friends or associates, you can each pick one or two to write (or, better
yet, call), discuss what you will say to them, and then later share with
each other what happened when you did that. If you work together on this,
you will find that what you should do next becomes clear as you go along.
This approach is especially effective with national or state officials
at all times -- and with local officials up to a point. If one local official
receives dozens of calls from Y2K-concerned citizens each day, it can interfere
with their work; so be sensitive to their needs. (You can prepare for this
using the Y2K Political Action Project.)
Make a list of media that you use -- TV, radio, newspapers,
magazines -- both local and national. If you are in a group, divide up the
list so that each of you is tracking the Y2K coverage of at least one of
them. If they don't cover Y2K at all, ask them why. If they cover Y2K but
don't cover community preparedness issues, or aren't covering Y2K in a way
that empowers the community, insist that they correct their coverage. Use
the information and links on this site to become knowledgeable, powerful
consumers of Y2K media information, on behalf of your whole community. If
you are ambitious, call in to talk shows -- or begin to build a personal
relationship with a particular reporter or columnist, and find out how you
can help them cover Y2K better. Always validate good coverage; write them
and tell them how much you appreciate it. An often overlooked source of
information in your community is your local library. Talk
to them about Y2K resources that are available on line, and ask if you can
help them develop any other information resources. Use library spaces for
Connect with your neighbors. Realize that if there is a
major collapse of infrastructure, the people you are going to be dealing
with are your neighbors. There may be no media, no internet, no phones,
no stores, no gas for your car... "Nobody here but just us chickens,"
as the saying goes. At that point, neither you nor your neighbors will be
going very far from your neighborhood, nor will you have anyone else to
talk to or work with. If you don't already know the people living around
you, now is a very good time to have some street parties, share dinners,
do neighborhood yard sales, get involved in neighborhood associations, start
a neighborhood newsletter, join a crime watch or disaster preparedness group,
or otherwise involve yourself with your neighbors, even if it is just to
say hello and chat for a minute as you walk by. It matters less what you
do together than that you build good relationships. As the months go on,
you'll be able to align your conversations and activities increasingly to
the demands of Y2K, since it will probably become a growing concern for
everyone. Encourage your neighbors to do the things on this page, and encourage
your friends, relatives and associates to get to know their neighbors.
Then, whatever happens, our communities will be fully alive again!
Think about how to help with your unique abilities.
- Do you like to take care of children? You could offer to take care
of children at Y2K meetings.
- Do you do artwork or promotion? You could design fliers or create
murals and posters.
- Do you design web sites? You can offer your services for a local (or
national) web site on Y2K.
- Do you like gardening? Start a community garden for your neighborhood
(especially with kids!).
- Are you a fix-it person? Start fixing up old broken bicycles. They'll
- Were you alive 60 years ago? Then you probably know how to do many
things that younger people cannot do because they're so dependent on technology.
Prepare to teach the practical skills you know -- sewing, herbal medicine,
entertaining children without TV, etc.
- If you have trouble thinking of how to use an ability you have, contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll work on
it and post the results here. If you send us reports about how you're using
capabilities we haven't yet listed, we'll summarize them here.
Think about your investments. Your money could
You can also become a "social investor," investing your money
in activities like the Co-Intelligence Institute, where the return isn't
more money but a better society and greater collective security for your
community and your children. If you think Y2K is going to be really serious,
take a serious look at what money means in this new context. Using it now
to make the world or your community better may produce enormous returns
in aliveness and meaning, where trying to figure out how to protect it in
a ferociously collapsing society may drain away aliveness and meaning.
Notice how you feel. Move into a relationship with money that is most alive
for you. It will probably be the one that most nurtures the health of our
- help develop sustainable technology industries (solar power, water
purification systems, etc.),
- support businesses that support their communities or operate ecologically,
- further the projects of community development banks.
Strengthen your connection to nature.
Come home to nature: You are already connected to nature,
even if you are locked in a prison cell. The atmosphere is nature. The
bugs are nature. The rain and the sun are nature. Everything around you
is nature, including all human technological products, although many of
those are very deformed, degraded examples. You can always become more
conscious of and responsive to the way you are embedded in nature, and the
role you are playing in it. Are you participating in ways that enhance
the aliveness and health of the natural world in which you live? Can you
learn more about it? (See bioregionalism
and permaculture for some ideas about
Go out into nature: Hike, bike or camp in less inhabited areas.
Familiarize yourself with the life that lives there. Sense its power,
its wisdom (hard won through billions of years of trial and error), and
its right to life and a place in the world comparable -- at least! -- to
Co-create with nature: Garden. Compost. Plant a tree. Protect
a forest or wetland. Walk. Do what you can to re-use water (greywater,
rainwater, etc.) instead of sending it down pipes into the ocean. Do what
you can to protect the air.
The industrial/economic infrastructure we've built around us makes us feel
like we are outside of nature. We're not. It makes us feel like we don't
need nature. We do. It makes us feel like we can abuse nature as long
as we like and get away with it. We can't. Do what you can to make friends
with the most powerful, all-pervading reality on earth, to become knowledgeable
about its needs and demands, to become a partner in supporting its well-being
so that it can support yours. It is vastly capable of supporting human
culture, but it won't tolerate abuse. It demands respect.
Without our infrastructure, we'll have nothing but nature and each other
to work with. Actually, we've never had anything else to work
with. If the Y2K threat to our infrastructure teaches us this one lesson,
it will all have been worth it. If we don't learn this lesson now, nature
will give us something harder to learn it with. Now is the time to get
For more about what you can do, see What can I
do about Y2K?