Nature's News Brief for Wednesday, Feb. 16 : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Cyanide spill could affect local food supplies ... European Union considering environmental emergency force ... Lake Tahoe threatened by algae growth ... high spring tides to threaten Tuvalu this weekend ... alert at New York's Indian Point 2 nuclear plant ... American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks most and least efficient vehicles ... alternative auto fuels still too costly and unavailable to achieve cuts in petroleum ... Global Warming affecting migration and hibernation patterns ... peregrine falcons in New York City ... Internet-connected bird counting effort ... sharks in danger of overfishing ... Eco-Activists say the UN's Intergovernmental Forum on Forests "has moved the debate on forest conservation not forward but backward."

Nature's News

-- (, February 16, 2000


Hug a tree; buy an herbal product.


-- (, February 16, 2000.

I don't see any herbal products or anything else for sale there. it looks like a news thing to me. where's the spam?

-- (where's@the.spam?), February 16, 2000.

There are many articles at the easy-to-read site which all but a tiny handful of TB2K forumites will find of interest. Here is what Patrick says Nature's News is about: Welcome!

I would like to take a moment to explain what this site is intended to accomplish, and why I chose to take on this project.

In 1997, I became interested in the Y2K computer problem. I was working as a freelance, mostly Macintosh techie consultant, and I started reading various articles on and thinking about the possible implications of Y2K. Naturally, this led me to the internet and eventually to Ed Yourdon's Timebomb 2000 discussion forum. I became a regular contributor there, tracking news and attitudes about Y2K. I saw reason for concern, and there was very little in the way of concrete evidence to temper my concern.

Through serendipity, I was led to help out Larry Sanger work on his Sanger's Review of Y2K News Reports website, and eventually took over the day to day operations of finding, summarizing and posting news reports regarding Y2K on this site. It was a lot of work, and although the subject matter was not pleasant and the media was (in my opinion) digging into the issue very deeply, it was satisfying work.

When Y2K turned out to be largely a bust, I let out a huge sigh of relief. And, it was not difficult for me to get past it and want to move on to the next thing. But, what should that next thing be?

Reporting on and discussing Y2K led me to think about many issues that I had been interested in in the past, as well as new things that I had not considered before. I suppose that "the big thing" that it all sort of falls into could be described as the notion that we are at a critical point in history -- a time when we as a thinking species and "masters of the world" need to consider the direction we are going, and in particular as it regards our relationship with the "natural world." It seems to me as though human civilization needs to be more careful in its interaction with nature; we are at a point where the cost of the destruction of natural habitats is becoming obvious, and it's about time to pay that cost.

In the past, I had lived in two "Intentional Communities," for about four years each. One called Kerista, in San Francisco, no longer exists, and the other is called Ganas, in New York City. (It is still going strong after 20 years!) One of the many reasons why people choose to live in Intentional Community, is the idea that a small, tightly knit "village" of like-minded people use fewer resources and live a "lower-impact" life than individuals and nuclear families living the typical consumerist lifestyle. Hey, there's nothing wrong having nice "stuff" and being comfortable, but there is a lot of waste associated with it, and our choices do directly affect the natural world.

Part of the power of the "American Dream" is the enticement for people to want more "stuff." Much of the rest of the world watches this country, waiting in anticipation of the opportunity to live at our standard of living. It's very appealing, and billions of people are looking forward to their chance to live like "kings" the way lower-middle class Americans do. Unfortunately, it appears as though natural systems will pay the price for this lifestyle, even though technology may likely lessen the impact.

So, what to do about this? I believed that awareness was important when it came to the Y2K issue, and my work on the Review of Y2K News Reports was intended to help raise awareness, and track the issue. I tried to view and present the news as objectively as possible, and from the feedback that I got, I think that I largely succeeded in doing that. (Occasionally, something would tick me off, and I would let my opinion slip in. When I went too far, people let me know. I appreciated that.)

With Nature's News, I would like to take a similar approach, tracking news and attitudes "pertaining to the interaction between the human and natural communities." Humans tend to see themselves as being "other than," outside of, or "above" nature. Well, it just ain't so! Because of this attitude, species are dying off, old-growth forests are disappearing, and it's even possible (likely?) that the climate is being affected. I don't think the news that I will summarize will necessarily be clear-cut, some items may seem irrelevant. However, over time, I hope to build a large archive of material that may point to certain trends. I don't know yet what those trends will be, that's part of what will make it interesting!

For the record, I don't consider myself a "tree-hugger." I'm no Luddite, I understand and enjoy technology, and I see it as being one of many tools at our disposal for lowering the impact that civilization is having on natural systems. However, I also believe that there are choices that will need to be made in the next generation or two. Maybe by tracking news and attitudes, and building an archive, Nature's News and it's "sister site," Nature's Friends (which is being built by a small Intentional Community in northern New Jersey), will play a small role in the dialogue for the future.

This is my goal!

Patrick Shannon

February, 2000

-- Old Git (, February 16, 2000.

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