Let's Talk 2000

"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"

October 1, 1998, Volume 4, Issue 10, a monthly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field: Talk from the Forum: New Millennial Sites: Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."

I had the opportunity this past month to spend a day with Dr. Hillel Schwartz, senior fellow of the Millennium Institute. In the course of our conversation, he posed question which has really stuck with me. He asked, "What would distinguish a city from others, so that it could rightfully think of itself as a 'millennium community'?" He suggested three marks of a Millennium Community:

1. A Millennium Community takes seriously this millennial moment as a time for reflection, renewal, and reimagining of the future.

2. A Millennium Community is already laying the foundations and assuring the resilience of a social and economic network for an equitable, sustainable, and just community well into the 21st century.

3. A Millennium Community puts in place programs and projects that will creatively engage all neighborhoods and all religious, ethnic, racial, and economic groups in observances of the turn of the millennium and in work toward a viable, energetic community in the years beyond.

What if our communities, our corporations, our colleges and congregations were to use the millennium as a mirror? Instead of just planning elaborate parties, what if we used the year 2000 to measure our collective intelligence in the areas of health, in finance, in culture, in science?

What if we set new goals as communities for the new century which increased the economic and ethical opportunity for our youth? Instead of just watching the Olympics in 2000, what if we got down from the grandstands to demonstrate our potential in caring for others?

Being a millennium community means being a city, prepared and ready to cross into the next century. It is more than just a tag-line in a politician's speech. It is a call to each of us to dig deeper, reach higher and go further--together into the next millennium.

News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."

Denis Hayes, organizer of Earth Day 1970 and 1990, has kicked off an 18-month campaign to prepare for Earth Day 2000. The grassroots effort, which is expected to encompass some 150 countries, will press for specific international actions in fields such as energy, population and toxics. Earth Day in 2000 will fall on April 22, the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter.

Conservation activist Mark Dubois mdubois@earthday.net relocated to Seattle four months ago to staff an Earth Day international coordination office. Some 10 staff are now working to empower activists in local and national green campaigns.

In 1989, Dubois joined Hayes for a 9-month countdown to the first global Earth Day. "No one heard of Earth Day much before that time, but in just 9 months, more than 200 million from 140 countries outside U.S. organized events," claims Dubois. Since that time, "people have pretty much celebrated Earth Day on their own." Even with minimal coordination, Earth Day in 1998 was observed in 42 countries.

Now as Earth Day approaches its 30th anniversary, Hayes has invited 20 of the largest green groups to kick in seed money for a turn of the millennium campaign. A multi-year, new century global environment agenda has been developed, of which Earth Day 2000 will work toward.

Dubois says the campaign will not only "empower citizens," but also spur on the "legislative agenda" in the tradition of the first Earth Day which ushered in the clean air, clean water and endangered species acts in the U.S.

One tradition which Earth Day 2000 hopes to curb, however, is over-consumption. Earth Day 2000 will not be financed through corporate sponsorship as it was in 1990. Dubois claims the global event will pursue appropriate merchandising options, ranging from "green t-shirts to energy efficient light bulbs." For more information on Earth Day 2000, see http://www.earthday.net/.

The computer cousin of page-a-day calendars, Day-Savor Screen-a-Day Calendars, have just released a "Millennium 2000 Countdown Screen-Saver" for any PC user looking for millennial inspiration, facts and rotating futuristic artwork. Commissioned by Countdown Clocks, Int'l., the "Millennium 2000" screen-saver displays the days, hours and seconds remaining to 2000 (or to any dated event you choose). With a little effort, you can add in your favorite quotes, music and photos. A mini-personal calendar manager lets you enter important reminders and events on a perpetual calendar to make the "Millennium 2000 Day-Savor" a well-rounded program.

The suggested retail price is $16.95 and works with Win 3.1, Win 95, Win NT, and Win '98 systems. Sales manager, Ron Arciaga kaizenwork@aol.com can extend a discount of 50% to resellers. Arciaga also welcomes custom inquiries from cities or corporations, who would like to develop custom premiums using the "Millennium 2000 Countdown" product. To find out more about this product, call KaizenWorks in Santa Monica, CA at 310/393-8886 or visit http://www.daysavor.com/

A three-day international meeting of various city organizers of year 2000 celebrations is being tentatively planned in Vancouver, Canada for the second week of March to coincide with the Day 300 countdown to the millennium. The purpose of the consultation, according to Thomas Esakin, president of "Millennium Vancouver 2000" group, would be to allow "organizers to share ideas, co-ordinate activities, and make new connections." Esakin envisions representatives of multi-national corporations to attend, so that potential sponsors and city millennium organizers can learn from each other. The final day could also feature a millennium projects bazaar for cities to interact with various programs that can enrich civic life. Up until this time only a handful of consulting firms have held specialized seminars in millennial marketing for city officials, while First Night International has linked cities through its New Year's Eve festival model. For more information, contact Tom Esakin millennium@vancouver2000.bc.ca by email, phone (604)-646-2000 or fax (604)-646-2001.

Bethesda, MD - Futurists and experts on the Y2K problem will meet this December in Washington, D.C., to discuss ways to cope with possible global disruptions caused by malfunctioning computers. As a result of many computers being unable to handle dates after 1999, some experts foresee widespread breakdowns and a possible worldwide depression. Other experts take a calmer view, but concede that there will be problems. "Y2K: Scenarios & Strategies" will be held on December 16 and 17, 1998 at the Washington Hilton and Towers in Washington, D.C. The conference will be hosted by the World Future Society, a 30,000-member association based in Bethesda, Maryland. Registration for the two-day event is $595. Representatives from the White House, U.S. government agencies, business, and the futurist community will focus on critical areas of concern. These include technological strategies, organizational countermeasures, vulnerable infrastructure (such as utilities, air traffic control, and the financial sector) and long-term solutions. Many experts see today's interconnectedness as a special cause for concern. "We have created dense networks of reliance around the globe," writes futurist John L. Petersen in the October issue of THE FUTURIST magazine. Petersen expects "a rolling wave of interdependent failures" in phone service, power grids, and other areas. Everyone will probably be affected, whether they use computers or not. Global financial systems could be especially vulnerable. Russ Ray, a professor of finance at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, predicts that there's a 50-50 chance that a bear market will occur in the latter half of 1999 as investors realize the scope of the Y2K problem. "The overseas lack of preparedness will impair U.S. and global trade, in both real and financial assets, due to garbled data and slow response times," writes Ray in the August-September issue of THE FUTURIST. Additional material on Y2K and the conference is available from Dan Johnson johnsond@wfs.org, 301/656-8274 or at the World Future Society's web site, http://www.wfs.org/wfs

"A Survey of the Millennium Bug" in The Economist, Sept 19, 1998 v347 n8090, including 7 articles: Time runs out, Small cause: hugely expensive effect, The art of bug-hunting, Are you ready: many are not, least of all the medium-sized, Countries that count, No hiding place. (effect of Year 2000 computer problem on developing countries), Midnight's children (legal aspects of Year 2000 computer problem).

"Apocalypse now. (new millennium)" Jon Marcus. Boston Magazine, Sept 1998 v90 n9 p66(5). Abstract: Richard Lanes, the director of the Center for Millennial Studies, the scholarly institute given to study the epoch prior to and after the millennium, believes the year 2000 will be a very interesting year. The millennium will witness religious bliss and technological chaos.

"Second-guessing the future." Stephen Jay Gould. Natural History, Sept 1998 v107 n7 p20(11). Abstract: Alfred Russel Wallace's 'The Wonderful Century: Its Successes and its Failures' provides a forum for a series of evolutionary essays 100 years after its publication, in reflection on themes such as science in society and the unpredictability of evolutionary social futures.

"Year 2000 compromise bill is opposed by trial lawyers." (Congressional bill to promote communication about the year 2000 computer bug within the computer industry and its customers by limiting liability) Jeri Clausing. The New York Times, Sept 21, 1998 v147 pC9(N) pC9(L) col 5 (6).

Are you planning a flight for Y2K? (the year 2000 computer problem) Jerry Dunn. National Geographic Traveler, Sep-Oct 1998 v15 n5 p22(1).

In a first, parties settle a year 2000 suit. (computer crashes as a result of programmers not factoring in 00 to represent the year 2000) The New York Times, Sept 14, 1998 v147 pC12(N) pC12(L) col 1 (6).

"You ain't seen nothing yet: we're just at the start of a powerful surge in technology that will boost economic gains into the next century. (The 21st Century Economy) Michael J. Mandel. Business Week, August 24, 1998 n3593 p60(4). Abstract: Information technology and biotechnology promise continued innovation and creativity and the economy is likely to continue its growth at an annual rate of three percent.

"Millennium Cup," Rudeen, Louisa. Motor boating & sailing. Vol 182, No 4, pp. 60 Oct 01, 1998, Abstract: Auckland, New Zealand, is the place to be next year when the clock ticks over into 2000 and the America's Cup comes town. Plus: A look at the leading players. ISSN: 0027-1799

Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap of recent conversations"

Talk 2000 participant, Mike Ronan MRonan@aol.com offers another column in his continuing series for his local Gloucester newspaper:

I already pretty much know how I'll be spending New Year's Eve 500 days from now. I've got a can't miss formula that has worked for years: Do nothing! A video, some red meat and a quiet night at home with my wife and kids. Maybe a little Gloucester First Night if we're feeling wild.

But keeping it simple may be tough. No event in history has generated so many ways to have a good time. Our challenge is to not "miss the moment" when the global odometer flips over to the magic 2000 mark.

Enticements will be many, but I promise myself I will not be overwhelmed by the glitz. Financially many of the events are out of my league anyway, but they're fun to look at. I don't envy the rich and famous, who must struggle with all the complicated options.

Consider the flight of the "Millennium II", so far my favorite exercise in excess. Ninety-four people will spend about $50,000 each for the opportunity to welcome year 2000 twice! The group will toast the new year in Paris, then hop on board an Air France Corcorde Supersonic charter flight headed back to 1999. At twice the speed of sound (1,320 m.p.h.), they'll head to New York City, and an earlier time zone. The will be in Times Square in time to see the big ball drop. Sounds like you could bill this as the "start the millennium with jet lag" tour, but the package includes a week of resort living in Acapulco and Hawaii to aid the recovery.

If you don't need to celebrate the new year twice, but want to do it first, New Zealand is the place for you. Proximity to the International Date Line means the first dawn of the new millennium will premiere in New Zealand. If you want to be the first to get married, or first to fish for trout, or the first to do anything else, there are pricy specialty tours to meet your need. One travel agency implores the golfers of the world, "Be the first to tee-off in the New Millennium."

The riskiest event that I've found so far is a Caribbean millennium cruise for nudists. It's called a "clothing optional cruise," but make no mistake, everyone will be getting naked. What worries me is the total lack of a screening process for participants. Fine if everyone is svelte and Adonis-like as myself, but surely many of the 1100 on board will have flawed bodies. What exactly do I want to be looking at when the millennium dawns? A naked car salesman from Columbus wearing only his party hat? I think not. What if Linda Tripp or Web Hubell is on board. No way.

Almost as scary is an event being planned for the California desert. An pagan organization called Prelude To The Millennium plans a meeting of one-million practitioner of "earth spirituality." It is, writes a public relations fellow named Dragonhawk, "an event so large that mere words fail to describe its importance." The giant mass of pagans will hold hands and form the "largest circle mankind has ever seen." They will also engage in drumming, chanting and other spiritual things. The prospect of this many people who don't have regular jobs, all in one place at one time is kind of special, I suppose. Still, I am comforted by the fact that this event will occur 3,000 miles to our west. Question: Do new age revelers wake up with a headache on New Years Day from too much aroma therapy?

For me it will be something cozy and close to home. If I venture out at all, it will be a couple blocks walk north to Gloucester First Night 2000. "We'll have a really great celebration," says Gloucester First Night President Louise Palazzola. "We're lucky we got started last year. We have time to get the kinks out before First Night 2000."

The "kinks" from last's year's event were not visible to the many who attended. First Night '98 (Gloucester's first) got great reviews, and good crowds. Palazzola has been thinking 2000 for quite a while and recently attended a First Night International Convention. "There are a lot of great things in the works for 2000," she said. "Our main concern will be booking artists early. There will be a lot of competition because every town will be doing something special."

You've got 500 days to figure it all out, Louise......and don't forget you have one more practice run in four months.

New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

WORLD NETWORK OF RELIGIOUS FUTURIST: "Advancing the future of religion"
Can religions change and be agents of divine change in the third millennium? Interact with scholars and activists who study the future of their religious traditions in view of world civilization. Membership benefits include newsletter, email forum, and conference invitations.

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://www.talk2000.org

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Editor: talk2000@rmi.net
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: millennium, events, groups, books, usenet
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