Facilitator, NHNE's Forum for a Common Understanding
Ocean Springs, Mississippi, USA
Thursday, January 13, 2000
I guess there is a rather large handful of people who rearranged their lives to withstand the rigors of the Y2K phenomenon. And I suppose the immediate reaction is to feel like a complete idiot, since the power is still on and the US Post Office has managed to deliver your bills.
If there had been no Y2K glitches at all, then perhaps the feeling might be justified. Just because modern civilization didn't come to end is no reason to berate oneself for having extra food and water and the means to maintain life without ammenties. Afterall, any given moment a natural disaster could be on your doorstep.
But what if you had made major life decisions based on the notion that you might not be able to carry on the same lifestyle you enjoyed prior to 1999? What if you stood firm in your community as staunch advocate of advanced preparation? Went so far as to hold public meetings and be interviewed by the local ABC affiliate? And then what if the bug bite was mild, a mere 'bump in the road' as so many Y2K optimists called it? Then what?
What would you do? How would you face the day? Well, I got up, made some tea and finished reading my Peter Mayle book --- Encore Provence and celebrated the new year with my family.
It's easy to feel ashamed that the world didn't come to a screaching halt just because you thought it might happen, based on, I might add, factual material that wasn't channeled by a 7000 year old Eyptian. (Not that there's anything wrong with that; it's just tougher to verify.)
And some folks are genuinely disappointed that the power is still on and no civil unrest has errupted in major cities. I am relieved that life will go on, since I think it's possible to make changes within the existing infrastrucure if people have the courage to make it happen.
To me the most important outcome, or lesson of this undertaking by NHNE and other grassroots organizations is the speed and tenacity with which many people mobilized themselves into an information gathering network, via the Internet and other media outlets. It exemplifies the power we have as many individuals working towards a similiar goal. To abandon this network simply because Y2K is no longer a perceived threat is ludicrous in my opinion.
Most people who examined the changes we might face with the loss of some technologies began to see what a fragile structure the world has built to house an ever-growing and ever-consuming population. Many of these folks, too have wanted to see more sustainable form of society emerge, regardless of Y2K disruptions. It seemed as though a rash of computer crashes would prove the point that the world is now balanced on the edge of a coin.
Well, it didn't exactly shake the foundations of the old guard, now did it? Moreso it didn't really wake up too many of the Xer's or the baby boomers. Do we need a complete meltdown of the old system to urge a new into place?
I don't think so. I think if we use the talent we have shown with particular issue, it's possible to make change happen without complete chaos. I also think we choose to have change be a traumatic event, and perhaps it doesn't have to be. Recall that at the WTO meetings in Seattle, a new coalition emerged: Teamsters and Turtles. Go figure. If the unions and environmentalists can find common ground, then anything is possible.
I look foward to hearing the ideas of others...
Sherry (Sher) Stultz
Facilitator, NHNE Forum For A Common Understanding