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A Visionary's Guide to Surviving Y2K



From: Roberta Goodman
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999

This is the intro to a manual on social transformation through Y2K tentatively called "Humpty Dumpty". Please try to ignore the editing in quotation marks. If you post this and can eliminate them, please do so. Or I can send a clean copy later. There is more, with a positive outlook for the changes ahead. Let me know if you're interested in more. Please consider David Brin on your list of storytellers--"The Postman" is a fine example of where we may go--following heart into work rather than being guided by paychecks. I have also written an educational manual for teaching and learning to follow heart into fulfilling work. Please keep up your excellent example--I am hoping for a sixties type of huge consciousness revival in the face of this challenge.

Y2K disaster preparation is a high priority for the Armed Forces, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the British and Canadian governments. May 1-2, 1999 the National Guard will drill for a national emergency. The Coast Guard may *refuse to* allow oil offloading at the first of the year. FEMA warned its network that Y2K may precipitate a worldwide state of emergency. Full page newspaper ads in Canada gave the population notice to be ready to accept Martial Law at the beginning of the year. Nuclear facilities lacking compliance must shut down and begin cooling off on July 1st; losing 30% of our power supply will be indicative of what's to come.

Rick Cowles, an electric utility analyst, says, "I am convinced there is a 100% chance that a major portion of the domestic electrical infrastructure will be lost as a result of the Year 2000 computer and embedded systems problem.

"Western Civilization could hardly be hit with a more effective means of capitulation. Even a single month of interrupted services *may* mean death to millions, perhaps a billion, who already live on the edge of survival. Three to nine months of lag time is critical and will *likely* result in famine, epidemics, and other tragedies compounded in highrise cities shrouded with winter weather.

What will it take to survive the worst case scenario?

The worst case is just that--the worst. It will be difficult to stay alive, healthy, and humane. Famine is easy to forecast considering the long chain of critical links that must be intact for food to be placed on our tables. Up to 85% of the world's population will be severely affected, for the worst. Even stored supplies for armies will be depleted within two years. Shipping will be disrupted. Commercial agriculture will falter. Processed foods will be hard to come by. Our lives will depend on growing our own food and bartering *or exchanging* amongst ourselves for what we need.

At first, food may be everyone's concern. But, if our economy collapses, if the web of business *breaks down*, if we *cease to be* supplied by the multinationals, we will have a tremendous variety of needs to fulfill. Y2K will catalyze a make-over of society. We could put all our efforts into reestablishing the status quo, *although* we will run into a similar problem around 2050 when we run out of oil reserves. Let's imagine something better and use new technology to develop new answers.

Life may *be similar* next year. Then again, it may be radically altered. If it is the first case, *business as usual* is asked of us. If Y2K precipitates disaster, we will be required to undertake an entirely new view of life in order to survive. If next year comes and goes like any other, this manual is only another visionary treatise. If *things are fine* next year, we will go on with business as usual, but perhaps we will demand more foresight from our leaders and policymakers. The Y2K computer bug is *something other than* a hoax masterminded by computer salesmen and programming consultants, as lucrative as it is to them. As crazy as it seems, it is a human error revolving around shortsightedness, greed, and procrastination. We are on a ride into the *novel*, whether we believe in it or *what*. If Y2K turns into a true disaster, reading manuals like this one, having discussions, and making preparations will mean the difference between life and death for you and your family.

As minimal preparation for a state of emergency in the first weeks of January 2000, plan on conserving resources until you are assured that necessary supplies are being delivered regularly. Expect that a last minute run on food and other items will leave shelves empty in December; it will take some time to restock. Make the best of what you have on hand, cut rations in half and stretch them to last twice as long as you thought possible. If the power goes out, gather together with a safe source of heat and listen to a battery-powered radio. Plan on entertaining children, playing games and telling stories. Find closeness in helping others. Look up some tips for getting through short outages: make canned heat for cooking and light out of cardboard and used grease or vegetable oil in a tuna can; if possible, sun dry food that's in your fridge or freezer if you can *while it is still good*.

Although it sounds reassuring, it is totally *rash* to ask people to prepare with a week's worth of food, water, toiletries, and medical supplies. If the effects of Y2K are prolonged past the point of a *temporary difficulty*, we must become concerned with replacing essential lost services. It will be a slow motion tumble into freefall cataclysm as systems fail, failure is recognized, and people finally *respond*. Many will be *feeble* before they realize it. Blind trust in authority will lead people to eat whatever they have, waste a week waiting for relief, and recognize way *too* late that supplies are *delayed or canceled*. When the difference between life and death is personal effort and ingenuity, many will be too weak or panicked to do more than scramble for their lives.

A mass exodus from the horrors of the city will place heavy demands on rural areas. As a last ditch effort, pack the car or RV as if for an extended camping trip, and bring tools for a useful trade (see page __ for a list of useful items). Role models for hitting the road are found in the hobos of the depression era--remember their code of honor and cooperative road signs?--and the hippies of the 1960's with their high ideals, simplicity, and need for social justice. Both groups ventured out with little or nothing, asking, *just asking* The Gypsy, migrant worker, trader, nomad, and wanderer prove that with God's good grace, a willing attitude, and the generosity of strangers, we are able to successfully walk into *what's coming*. Imagine stepping off the Mayflower into the 21st Century. We have many advantages over those first pilgrims, but our priorities remain the same--food, warmth, and community (ohana). It will take a contribution from everyone, organization, vision, and mindfulness, *and* under duress, we will successfully reinhabit rural America. If services are down for an extended length of time, we will all be living off-the-grid. Those ready to accept this challenge will lead the way, readapting to locally-reliant, community living. Being self-contained is as close to home as your RV equipped with solar panels and fuel. Other remedies are as simple as: an alternate source of fuel for cooking, light, heat, and transportation; collecting and purifying rainwater; growing food staples; and trading. Garbage is primarily compost and recyclables. Camping is fun, if you go prepared.

Faced with the prospect of a last minute run for your life, many have already begun to prepare an outpost. Storing food and other necessities in the city will be futile if you are forced to move with only a single carload and tank of gas. The most successful survival strategy, if you can afford it, is to find a congenial, fertile place further than one tank away from any metropolis where there is access to clean, flowing water. Establish a getaway and store supplies. Stock a storage unit in a rural town. Send shipments to a country relative. Stash enough food to sail away in your yacht, fuel her now and fill tanks with fresh water.

Wonder What

To enter the spirit of this book, play a little game.

Imagine the end of shipping. All worldwide transportation ceases due to any number of causes. What happens? Consider the ramifications if it is *still down* for a month or two. If you knew this was to happen, where would you want to be? What and who would you like to have around you?

Wonder what happens.

The looming specter of the Y2K catastrophe is so frightening that people experience the stages common to confronting death of a loved one or a terminal illness. The first response is often denial, "My computer is compliant." "There's too much at stake, they'll fix it." Soon after may come the realization of wider implications of computer failure and people begin to bargain with fate by stocking up on goods. Is it enough to store food? This response may work for the short term, if you have fuel for cooking, clean water, and sanitation to *maintain wellness*. However, *successful survival of the crisis means more than stockpiling food alone* . *Poorly* stored food will spoil or attract pests. Hoarded food will become a burden if you are fleeing the city, or if your neighbors are caught *off guard*.

Deep grief at TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World As We Know It) *. Stunned, you may *fail* to come up with a course of action at all. We must come to terms with the death of our society as we know it and accept monumental change for the better. Our speed in recognizing and handling this transformation is critical. Those who do will find a smoother transition to a new era in civilization. Reverting to the old form, attempting to fix and continue living in suddenly outmoded ways will constitute disaster. The international web of supply will *come apart*. The glory days of big business are over. We are on the doorstep of cultural revolution. All energy expended on the old form is wasted. It will *zero* be fixed or up and running ever again. We are looking at the face of catastrophe. In less than one year we may experience outages in all our services. This possibility is very real, extremely serious, and highly likely. What if the worst happens?

Our lives and the lives of our great grandchildren are at stake in what we do over the next year. Do we collapse when the web of services *does*, or do we design new systems? Will we panic, starve, or freeze while waiting for relief? Is natural *passivity* too ingrained to challenge these fates, even with forewarning, or are we creative enough to find alternatives?

If you desire to go on when basic services fail and can imagine living in a thriving community *even with* the bankruptcy of major institutions, you are integral to the solution. Working together with ingenuity and resourcefulness, we will resolve seemingly *futile* problems. In our lineage are crafty survivors of every sort of difficulty faced on Earth. Now it is time to stretch into *new* territory, adapting and inventing, pouring our resources into finding answers *for ourselves*. Ironically, the very items, services, and attitudes that enhance our ultimate *self-sufficiency* will be working despite Y2K, in fact becoming answers for survival. Answers to our immediate dilemma paradoxically lie in longterm sustainability. Those already tuned in will have the easiest transition in this great disruption.

Y2K is a *one of a kind* disaster, or we can consider it an amazing opportunity. Bonds of the past will be broken. Will we surrender, confused and *weakened*, or can we take this opportunity to create novel systems which we have only begun to imagine*?*

Whether we convert to sustainable, clean living now, triggered by the Y2K crisis, or later, when we run out of petrol, sooner or later we will go beyond dependency on oil. Y2K is the momentum to plunge into successful living styles and attitudes, to pursue harmonious, simple, and joyful living and livelihoods. Balance is a natural, *certain* process. Let's come into balance *while we still have time*.