Northwest Regional Facilitators and Washington State University presents

Common-Sense, Common-Ground: Preparing for Y2K A Live Satellite Videoconference Series continuing on Thursday, April 8, 1999

9:00am-12noon 10:00 am -1:00 p.m

The second Resilient Communities program in this three part series brings together activists who are making waves in their local communities and internationally by promoting preparedness and sustainability practices in the face of Y2K.

Robert Theobald and host Scott Fedale will be joined by Cynthia Beal, a local grocer in Eugene, Oregon, and international advocate for community preparedness along with Rick Ingrassi, owner of the Whidbey CyberCafe and a consultant to the Washington State Year 2000 office.

In this program, we will provide you with common-sense advice that competent people are giving about food and water storage, electricity concerns, availability of money, medicine, etc. It will address the need for spiritual resiliency during this turbulent time. It will also look at how higher levels of sustainability can emerge from the immediate requirements posed by Y2K challenges.

Our first program aired on January 22, 1999 and provided an opportunity for interactive dialogue on community resiliency with futurist and socioeconomist, Robert Theobald, and management consultant, author and noted Y2K commentator, Margaret Wheatley. They looked at shifting global dynamics and discussed new forms of leadership needed for the new millennium. It received excellent reviews and is now available on video at the Resilient Communities website.

We have scheduled the third and final program to air on May 27. It will give participants a sense of the ways in which people and communities are approaching the full range of issues related to resilience at personal, family, community and ecological levels. The program will link those who have been working in communities across North America and enable them to share their experiences. We will explore the tools and approaches that have been most successful in inviting people to a leaderful society. People can gain more detailed knowledge about Resilient Communities through their website, which is directly linked to these programs.

This program is designed for educators, clergy, elected and appointed officials, business leaders, economic development practitioners, tribal leaders, non-profit directors, community organization leaders, and community volunteers. Visit the site coordinator and registration pages on this web site to participate.

Y2K Attitudes and Patterns Robert Theobald

Robert Theobald is based in Spokane, WA, USA. He works in his community, nationally and internationally. His latest book is "Reworking Success."

I have had the opportunity to attend a large number of Y2K events in Australia. The overall reaction clearly is that this is the time to look at the broader issues and desired futures. It is the time to push trends which are already emerging in the culture. This pattern has led to the following musings which I hope may be useful. I want to share some emerging thoughts with you about Y2K and the confusion I think we are feeling. I dont think that there is anything very new here but I do think that some of the language and its brevity may be helpful. The initial Y2K issue was how much we could fix the bug: the hope was that it would be possible to limit the damage so that there would be at worst a bump in the road.

As community people realised that it was almost inevitable that there would indeed be a bump in the road, then it became obvious that there was a need for preparedness. The model that developed proposed that people should stock food and water for a given number of days. There are also suggestions for preparing for interruptions in energy and money supply, etc.

This fell easily into parallels with disaster preparation. The work that is going is obviously useful for people have indeed become far too casual about what might go wrong and what they need to have available to them if there are disasters e.g in ice-storms, high winds, electricity and gas failures etc. This model assumes that there will be a short period of major disruption and that realities will then go back to their previous shape.

It seems to me, however, that the debate has moved on. The people who I respect are arguing that while there may be short-run dangers, the real issues are far more complex. They believe that the overall industrial system is dangerously stressed. They think that if things do go wrong, breakdowns will take place over time and will damage the infrastructure on which we have come to rely in unexpected and unpredictable ways.

If this is the case, we need a second level of preparation which is quite different in nature. The best way I have so far found to get at this is to provide a parallel with attitudes to the human body. One could not live well if one spent ones whole time worrying about all of the diseases one can possibly catch. One needs to have a general awareness of ones body and to be aware of specific dangers which come from ones specific circumstances but the most important goal is to build ones health and immune system.

At the present time, it seems to me that we are greatly in danger of asking people to try to understand all the possible breakdowns which could emerge from Y2K. This is leading to "Y2K fatigue" as people find that they are getting whiplashed by contradictory experiences. I am convinced that we need to help them to see that there is an overall set of responses which are relevant and which we have aimed to evoke by the term resilience.

People will only see the need for resilience if they tackle the Y2K crisis at a deep level where they understand that it is challenging the core of the beliefs that we have used to shape our realities in the twentieth century. They will then move on to see that we are indeed being forced to develop a new set of understandings and beliefs.

Y2K is indeed a catalyst and an opportunity. But it cannot operate in this way unless we enable people to approach it from a values and spiritual base. What does this mean in specific terms. It means that we must affirm the need for preparedness as there will necessarily be times when families and neighborhoods will need to support themselves. But preparedness is not particularly a Y2K issue. Rather it is part of an overall failure to grasp the reality that the challenge in any culture is to deal with failures as they occur rather than to believe that all failures can be avoided. It is part of the needed shift to recognizing that mistakes are part of life and are learning potentials but only if they are admitted rather than denied.

The real Y2K challenge is to see it as the forerunner of massive changes in the 21st century. Our future goals must be quite different than those of the past.

We need to state clearly that human survival requires a profound shift from a quantity of goods to a quality of life orientation. It demands that we commit to social cohesion, ecological integrity and effective decision-making. It demands that we live on the basis of positive values. It requires that we move from mechanical to organic metaphors.

(To gain further perspective please check out If you are based in North America please consider getting involved in the April 8 satelllite conversation. If you are based in Australia, we are exploring whether a resilient comm

-- MC (, April 08, 1999

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