Do you think this plan is worthy to mobilize around? : LUSENET : Millennium Salons : One Thread

Gentle people, I hope you find these ideas worthy of supporting: First of all, I would like to assume that you are up on y2k. But, if you are like many progressives, you may be asleep at the wheel on this one, I hope not. In any case, please be so kind as to indulge me for a moment, for I have found much on the web which supports the premise that can be found on the state of California y2k website, that there is the possibility for infrastructure breakdown (i.e. no electricity, etc. for an indefinite period) and hence contingency should be implemented with this in mind.

With this possibility in mind I would like to assert that the best, the most comfortable contingency that I can imagine would be self-sustainable, self-reliant, neighborhoods globally and locally before 2000. This is the funky, cheap, simple type of self-sustainability, not the deep ecology or the bioregionalism, or anything that would take years to implement. This is a comprehensive self-sustainability that would be more fitting for contingency for infrastructure rupture such as y2k presents. Something that could be done before 2000. It is a daunting challenge, but who is to say its impossible. The stakes are so high, with the possibility of martial law/chaos on one side, and the other possibility. Imagine, if you would, the worst-case scenerio does occur and we in our wisdom had the foresight and the diligence and the creativity to implement self-sustainable neighborhoods comprehensively and globally in time. The safety net would be available for everyone and everyone would experience the liberating and healing effect of community based on mutual co-operation and after a month or who knows how long of living this way, without money, the people of the world would see the absurdi ty of ever returning to the former way of injustice, waste, destruction, exploitation, and corruption that we have all had to endure and which has so degraded and compromised everyone's existence. Thus the world would be transformed in one fell swoop, possibly. Its just a possibility, of course. But is it not worth mobilizing all those who could help in creating an ever-improving list of ideas that are cheap and simple for sustainability? Would your organization be interested in playing an instrumental role in getting this ball rolling? This once in a millenium opportunity is very fleeting, there is only 13 months left. There is a certain urgency, if we are not to miss this and head into y2k with little but an ever deepening sense of panic. If for some reason you don't agree, please let me know why. Yours in hopeful collaboration,


-- Tom Osher (, December 01, 1998


It's a worthy plan, Tom, just not very practical. Bill is correct (great post, Bill!) in his assessment that just getting people motivated to do some simple home-based contingency planning is proving to be a daunting (and discouraging) task in itself. As people "get it" they will be in a better position to examine their own lifestyle choices and, perhaps, be willing to begin to adapt, a little here and a little there, toward more sustainable, life/community-enhancing choices. It must begin in our own homes and our own lives.

-- Wayne Schumacher (, December 02, 1998.

Wayne, focusing on negative assumptions is not really constructive. There are many people who are far from agreeing with these ideas, but if you read the plan carefully, you will see, that we are not really going to waste our time with trying to convert them. This mobilization is for the conscious practical thinker to come up with ideas and ways that are cheap and simple for quick implementation. We will by this way be able to create models in their neighborhoods which will arouse their curiosity and they may want to "keep up with the Joneses". In other words, have faith in what we are doing, and let every thing else fall in place as it will. Naysayers, beware, saying "can't, impossible", or any such words is like waving a red flag in front of a bull, I'm used to facing the impossible everyday, its part of being a live. This challenge is only for those who hear the call, feel the pull of the ideas, know the time is now.

-- Tom Osher (, December 02, 1998.

I agree wholeheartedly with Tom about the action, but am much less optimistic about the results. Nevertheless, I do believe that neighborhoods will be a major factor in our dealing with Y2K.

So much that I recently set up a new web site called which I invite you to check out and also to submit information to that would be of value to neighborhoods.

To be self-reliant and sustainable is, in my mind, secondary to survival itself, but I believe if neighbors work together to prepare for Y2K, anything which shows them they can live better, cheaper, more cooperatively, and freer from corporate ties, will been by them as something positive.

Our efforts in the Napa Valley are directed towards homes, neighborhoods and the community. You can't have one without the other. But the neighborhoods are the smallest community unit and the place where there's the most hope...if any.

Mick Winter

-- Mick Winter (, December 02, 1998.

Dear friends;

Thank you for bringing up the issue of sustainability.

I'm going to write a brief, short post (!) tonight, because I simply want to communicate another level of the denial that I sometimes confront in my own community (contrary to popular belief, it's a long uphill road for me sometimes!)

This evening I went to a presentation of the Northwest Eco-Building Guild, a group of community activists focused strongly on building a community that is resilient, vibrant, healthy and environmentally wise. The topic was "defining sustainability."

The presenters were excellent. The attendees were friends and acquaintances from Eugene.

One of the respected presenters to this organization, a gentleman who has just finished a book on identifying and billing for the full costs of growth of our modern urban infrastructure (mandatory for the Pacific Northwest, an area that is now experiencing accelerated growth whose costs are not accounted for) resoundingly dismissed Y2k. He has 20 years of programming experience, and fully believes that it is an issue that is detracting people from the more pressing issues of the time - global warming, population explosion, development that destroys the ground we live from and through.

I heartily agree that these issues are pressing, but this man was incapable of hearing me through his prior experience with programming, and the spectre of Y2k as presented by the most dire extremists has destroyed his ability to hear me as a rational middling voice. He was rude, and dismissive, and he occupies a very significant place in our activist community. I now regret my conversation with him, and feel that I have accentuated his resistance to addressing Y2k. Since he's influential, this is unfortunate. But it also illustrates a function of the political complexities generated by population density. We are a metro area of 220,000. This may be too large to have clean enough streams of action that can lead to efficient mitigation at a meaningful level. i.e. the politics may destroy the practical needs of the moment, to the detriment of all of us here.

A second gentleman I spoke to is the director of an imporant environmental sustainability program at the University of Oregon. He has previously been open to the potential problems of Y2k, but has gone to the programmers of the University who he says have guaranteed to him that 1) his computer is fine, 2) the University's computers are fine, 3) the rate of replacement of all computers around the world is so quick (*every two years) that by the year 2000 all computers that are important anywhere will be replaced such that the only problems will be faced by unimportant computers that can't possibly hurt anything.

How can I argue with this? Especially when he asks me not to...

I am a grocer and a plant person. He has told me to take up the issue with the programmers at the University. He is respectful and polite, but the University of Oregon's programming staff have convinced him that no problems exist. He rightly says he needs to rely upon the University of Oregon's programmers. Who am I to point out that these programmers are up against the greater "experts" of the US government, and speak contrary to them? Should he follow my lead over the programmers'? Should I follow UofO programmers over folks of the calibre of Greenspan, Jones, Yardeni and the host of others we're familiar with? It verges on an ideological war, and the lines are unclear.

I find myself growing frustrated with the University of Oregon and its President Frohnmayer for allowing the UofO staff to be so blythe with directors of programs who are relying upon this staff for valid information. Any programmer worth his or her salt should have the grace to admit that their theory about "no problem" is countered by the assertions of people with equal or greater experience to theirs (Capers Jones comes to mind). These programmers have left the realms of respectful science behind. They are presenting their own theories as fact, without even identifying them as personal unsupported conjecture, and they occupy a self-proclaimed space of objectivist analysis supposedly free of their own personal bias. They seem to have moved into the realm of an irresponsible deceit.

At least I'm a grocer and admit that these bits are all my own extrapolation based upon what I see and reason out...

And so Tom, tonight I find myself a bit dispairing of penetrating the bastion of those intellects who claim the realm of the future for themselves. You speak of mobilizing those "who could help in creating an ever-improving list...". There are a number of activists already carrying the banners you speak of who consider themselves mobilized and will not be turned. They are are carrying the banners of neighborhood and community and self-reliance - they have their grants, and their programs, and their agendas and their momentum. I respect them, and admire them, and can only cheer them on.

But tonight I have to say that, for the first time in awhile, my community has again discouraged me. It is always hard when those who think they think of others are in a position in which they cannot do well that which they profess to do. Too often I find myself there as well.

My challenge tonight is to continue on, to be surprised at where the alliances are rising, and to go toward the places where the connection feels real, and not be attached to the places that I expected to find it.

And so my caution to you is the same - don't be attached to finding receptivity in the places that you expect it. Don't be long discouraged when the people you've admired, and counted as allies, suddenly appear to misunderstand you completely, or are unable to hear you and instead see you through a template of something that they've imagined, rather than the something that you actually are.

Expect new relationships. Expect to be tossed out of the choir. And remember to count yourself fortunate to be making new friends, moving in new circles, stimulating new dialogue, and really, really, really walking the talk of resilience.

It's a very interesting trip.

Oh well - not a short post after all...

In community,

Cynthia Beal

-- Cynthia Beal (, December 03, 1998.

Tom, Wayne, Everyone,

First, I want to say that I for agree with the idea you're putting forth, Tom. I've been at least half at it for about 30 years myself. I agree that if anything near the worst case scenario occurs the circumstances around us will be like nothing anyone living's ever seen, and people will gain an immediate, profound, acutely physical understanding of what it is that's actually behind your note (and the notes of others calling for similar things.) In a nutshell, I have absolutely no quarrel with what you or anyone else seeing the need and the opportunity for the advancement of more independent, self-sufficient, sane lifestyles are saying. I see it myself. But to me, one of the seemingly most unfortunate aspects of the equation is that while the general (and "organically skeptical") masses are about to be exposed to a massive "motivational engine" for making some of the changes entailed (mainly practical, mechanical changes), those of us who have known for years that there's a better way don't have the systems in place to provide them (the masses) with the components of that saner lifestyle.

As usual, I could write a short book on that one, but I'll try to keep myself on a relatively short tether here. The long and short is, in its own dumb little way, one of the primary purposes of the Millennium Salons is to foster as much of that kind of thing as possible. One of the chief motivation forces behind this site/these forums is the hope that we can somehow load it up with as much practical information as possible that will: A) help people prepare for the year 2000's ramifications - whatever they may prove to be; and B) Do so in ways that further what it is you're talking about. And while this could be another short book, I'll just say I've found it genuinely amazing how difficult it's been to gain people's cooperation in doing that: Most people involved in y2k seem most interested in the Bigger Picture, and it seems that getting focused on the ground-level how-tos is very difficult for us all to do (which, I might add, includes me - it's a genuine mind-boggler that I am by no means immune to, and have to remind myself of constantly).

But, being one of those ever-willing to keep banging my head against the wall until it breaks, let me say this: Here's what really caught my real eye, my attention, in what you had to say. I agree 100% with these words:

"...the most comfortable contingency that I can imagine would be self- sustainable, self-reliant, neighborhoods globally and locally before 2000. This is the funky, cheap, simple type of self-sustainability, not the deep ecology or the bioregionalism, or anything that would take years to implement. This is a comprehensive self-sustainability that would be more fitting for contingency for infrastructure rupture such as y2k presents."

And this. (By ALL means, this):

"But is it not worth mobilizing all those who could help in creating an ever-improving list of ideas that are cheap and simple for sustainability?"

As we used to say all the time, "Right on!"

In the interest of my conception of what these pieces of forum software are for, and with what I know to be the original intent of this particular forum, the trick (to me, anyway), is to start building on that. To me, an "ever improving list of ideas that are cheap and simple" and practical are what we all need. What's a cheap and simple way to be prepared to live without electricity? What's a cheap and simple way to be prepared to live without a grocery store for a while? What are the cheap, simple, funky ways people can get themselves prepared so they can sustain themselves, be flexible, and then move on to making that same kind of information available to, or maybe even helping their neighbors (in a world full of strangers next door) attain some measure of that?

It's always been one of the primary hopes behind this forum that the "nuts and bolts" of those things would begin to trickle in, pile up, and reach some kind of genuinely beneficial level: Become a place where anyone in the world could go to find an on-line library of ideas, knowledge, experience, put into the most simple, practical, useable terms possible. So far, that hasn't happened, but it's never too late, right?

So here's what this thread to this point makes me think and feel: The same thing. And I guess my "challenge" to you - that red flag in the bull's face? (and I by no means mean to say you should be the only one helping out with this - the same challenge applies to everyone who lays eyes on these words) - is this:

Let's start making that list!

Let's all stop talking about it and do it! There are people galore "out there" who will keep track of the latest y2k developments at the Pentagon, the halls of congress, the world of banking and corporate whateverism. There are loads of people willing to spend all day and night speculating as to what may or may not happen, what would be "optimal," and what is "imperative" that we all "move toward" ASAP. And that's great. But I can tell you this: There are a minimal number of people who seem capable of ungluing themselves from the magnetic pull of the Big Picture and getting down to that place where the rubber meets the road when it comes to taking the actions called for when it comes to installing some of those genuinely beneficial (all the way around), cheap and funky systems.

Like I say, it's a mystery. Personally, I think it has a lot more to do with people just not knowing what to do than it does anything else. People simply don't know a completely useful solar oven can be made out of a pizza box and 25-cents-worth of aluminum foil. And if they've heard about that, and thought, "Huh. Whaddaya know?," they probably haven't taken the next step (getting hold of a pizza box, lining it with aluminum foil, and sticking it on their "just in case" shelf), because they haven't read or talked to anyone who's done it, haven't read or heard their short story about how easy it was and how it's paid off, or read or heard about the specific, amazingly simple, inexpensive, 1, 2, 3-step process that makes them think, "Hey... That sounds like a really good idea! I could do that," that maybe even includes a supporting URL.

And when it comes to the "power" of this form of communication (on- line forums) to influence people and help out in this area, let me show you a real live example of one forum thread that impacted my life. I don't know why, but this little collection of information was a big part of something that got me to take yet another series of actions in the physical world that is directly related to what your opening question in this thread's all about. It's a thread from the original nonhybrid gardening forum in Gary North's forums. I happened to save it on disk last year and put it onto a web page a few months ago. To me, this is a prime example of what a forum thread can be. take a look. Notice how practical it gets. Notice how much ground it covers.

And that's just one kind of thread. It meanders and works its way down from the broad general question to the small details of how to do something that could save your butt in a pinch, covering a lot of useful things in between. But not every thread need be that long, or this long. It can be a short paragraph and a URL that says something like:

Here's where to find out how to make a pizza box solar oven:

"This solar oven is adapted from a design created in 1976 by Barbara Kerr. The construction enables the user to cook anything that can be prepared on a conventional oven or stovetop and eliminates the need for stirring or basting."

It doesn't matter. The main things here are: A) I agree 100% with what you had to say in general; and B) it would seem the next step would be to start making that nuts and bolts, how-to "list."

If we count the cornthread, the pizza box oven, and the wood powered water heater, that's 3 contributions I've made to that list in the past 24 hours. No big deal, but I can't stop thinking (ever) about how interesting and genuinely useful a big part of this forum would become if a few (or 50, or 100) people started adding to some rendition of the list you're proposing.

There are categories listed on the lower part of the main screen where such things (threads) would fit. Or a new category called something like "That Funky List" can be added. Whatever it takes to make it work. Just let me know. You (along with everyone else) is invited and mildly urged to utilize this powerful tool to help build another part of whatever it is that vision consists of. All anyone needs to do is go ahead and have at it...


-- Bill Dale (, December 03, 1998.

Tom, Mick, Cynthia, Bill and others-

Sorry if I sounded a tad on the negative side yesterday with my post above...guess the discouragement side of me was showing more that the optimistic. But today I am back on track! (In large part thanks to Bill's gentle directive to re-focus on the basics) I appreciate your posts and agree with each of you much more than I must have indicated.

Although it apparently did not come across in the positive spirit intended, my Salons post titled " Let's stop talking about it and just DO it" was my attempt to outline some practical, positive steps we are taking here in our community. I would like to hear what others are doing and, especially, the low cost, the funky, and the doable. (Loved the solar pizza box oven!)

Just a quick "check-in" to let you know that I am with you and supportive of your efforts at community resiliency. If you would like to follow along with what Southern Oregon University Family Housing is doing, you can tune in and review our Y2K Committee meeting minutes at which are updated after each meeting.

Bill, If I can assist you in pulling together a "Best of the Best" ideas and low cost suggestions, let me know. Perhaps a monitored "Best of the Best" thread is a possibility? The need is great for a boiled down list of tips that reflect the simple, the practical, the affordable, and the timely.

Keep in touch!


-- Wayne Schumacher (, December 04, 1998.

To go to the "Best of the Best" thread, Click here.

-- Bill (, December 07, 1998.

In Bill Dale's answer to Tom Osher's question he says, "Let's start making that list". In hopes that some will find it useful as a starting point for their thinking, the following is my personal list upon which I am continually expanding.


DOCUMENTS ON HAND Passports Deed Car Titles Social Security Cards Social Security Benefits Statements Current Deposit Account Statements MONEY Close All Savings Accounts Close All But One Checking Account Cash All Securities Draw Out Bulk of Cash in $10 and $20 Denominations Re-Finance House Buy Some Gold ACQUISITIONS Sell One or More Cars Buy Vehicles Buy Necessities and Trading Goods per List Buy Refuge Shelter (Yurt) HOUSE PREPARATION Food Storage Generator (?) Lighting Fuels WoodStoves & Wood Food Bird Homes Evacuation Plan Shutters Etc. Tools: Cooking Fire Food Preservation AC/DC Electrical System

REFUGE PREPARATION Container Food Storage Diesel Firewood Kerosene Security Plan Septic System Shelter Plans & Materials Trailer Site Weapons Cache Miscellaneous Thoughts Drums of Various Sizes and Types


CLOTHING Belts & Suspenders Blouses Coats Gloves Hats Jackets Shirts Shoes , Laces, and replacement soles Skirts Sweaters Trousers Vests Underwear Raingear

COMMUNICATION Field Telephones Ham Radio Hands-Free walkie-talkies Homing Pigeons

ELECTRICITY Diesel Generator Diesel Fuel Battery Chargers: AC Solar Wind Alternator Storage Batteries Accessory Batteries

FOOD Bulk Goods Rice Flours Protein Powders Nuts Sugar Baking Powder Baking Soda Corn Meal Beans Canned Goods Fish Meats Soups Fruits Vegetables Dried Goods Fruits Vegetables Meats Pemmican Piqole Jerky Soups

HEATING Propane Kerosene Kerosene Heater Propane Heater Wood Stoves for House and Trailer Wood / Charcoal

HOUSEHOLD NECESSITIES Bedding Cooking Gear Facial Tissue Fire Extinguishers and Refill Kits Food Preserving Equipment & Supplies Matches and Lighters + Fuel Soaps and Cleansers Sewing Kit Toilet Paper

INFRASTRUCTURE Agricultural Facilities & Equipment Barns Bathing Facilities Composting toilets Electrical Generation, Storage, & Distribution Systems Fire-Fighting Facilities Hay Sheds Houses Laundry Security Facilities, Systems, & Equipment Septic System Smokehouse Storage Facilities Trailers Trash Disposal Site Well, Pumps, & Water Storage Workshops

LIGHTING Batteries & Chargers Candles Candle-Making Equipment and Supplies Carbide Lanterns & Headlamps Calcium Carbide Flashlights Kerosene Kerosene Lanterns Light bulbs

LIVESTOCK Chickens Ducks (?) Fish (?) Goats Horses Rabbits

MEDICAL Equipment Bandages Blood Pressure Cuff Arm and Leg Splints Fever Thermometers Forceps Reusable Syringes & Needles Stethoscope Scalpels Surgical Instruments Tourniquets Supplies Alcohol Antibiotics Anti-Diarrheals Anti-Fungal Ointment Anti-Histamines Anti-Nauseants Burn Medication Cough Suppressants Fever Reducers General Anesthetics Local Anesthetics Pain Suppressants Sutures Antiseptics Disposable Syringes & Needles Eye Drops Eye Patches

PERSONAL NECESSITIES Denture Cleanser Deodorant / Anti-perspirant Handsoap Handkerchiefs Personal Medication Razors & Blades Shampoo Spare Dentures Spare Glasses Tooth Brushes Tooth Paste Wristwatch and Spare Batteries

SECURITY Equipment Barricades Cameras (DC) Camouflage CrossBows DC Alarm System Handguns Knives Locks Mortars Passive Alarms Rifles Shotguns SMGs Surveillance Supplies Ammo for Firearms Binoculars / Night Glasses Bolts for Crossbows Grenades Holsters and Ammo Carriers STORAGE 50 Gallon Drums with Resealable Lids 6.5 Gallon Buckets with Lids Ammo Boxes in Various Sizes Cardboard Shipping Drums Container Shelving Friction-Top Cans Locking Truck Bins Oxygen Absorbers Plastic Bins Rubber Rafting Packs Shipping Container Vacuum Packer Water tanks Ziplocs and Plastic Bags

SURVIVAL GEAR Axes Canteens & Water Bags Bug Repellant Clothing Compasses Firearms Horses Knives Matches & Fire Starters Saddles & Packsaddles Sleeping Bags Tents Travel Cookery & Utensils Travel Stove & Fuel Hatchets Travel First Aid & Medical Kit Vehicle Spare Parts Wagon

TOOLS Carpentry Cooking & Food Storage Drawing Electrical Electronic Fencing Gardening Hunting & Trapping Leather Working Mechanical Plumbing Sewing & Crafts Welding

TRADING SUPPLIES Alcohol Blankets Clothing Coffee Medical Supplies Needles & Thread Reading Materials Survival Information Compasses Tobacco

TRANSPORT Diesel Pickups Diesel fuel Horses Horse maintenance equipment and supplies Packsaddles Saddles Travel Trailer Wagons Tack Spares and tools for all above

WATER Tanks 50 Gallon Trailer Tank Carriers Portable Canteens Water Skins Purification Equipment and Chemicals Filters Bleach Wood-burning water heater

-- Bob Podolsky (, January 07, 1999.

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