Yes Millennial Tool Kit

 The Millennium Survival Kit
The Goodenough Community
2007 33rd Ave. South
Seattle, WA 98144
Fax: 206/322-3729

We loved the idea of helping people "survive" the next millennium -- and its accompanying hype and hysteria -- so we borrowed part of this issue's title from the Goodenough Community and their Millennium Survival Kit. This excellent kit, which includes a video, an audiocassette of original songs and poems, and a booklet of essays, is designed to help you see beyond sensationalist press coverage to the opportunities the millennium presents for all of us to think about and act for a better future. The kit is thought-provoking, insightful, and fun.

The key element is the video, in which community members invite you into conversations ranging from the history of the first millennium, to millennial prophecies by the likes of Nostradamus and St. John, to the implications of such modern trends as global warming and the disenfranchisement of indigenous peoples.

These conversations -- broken up by documentary-style photo and artwork stills, television clips, and some wonderful, original songs -- also show how you can form an impromptu learning group to not only study the millennium, but to plan collective actions that will help create a sustainable new era.


Kindness & Justice Challenge
Do Something, Inc.
423 W. 55th St., 8th Floor
New York, NY10019

The Kindness and Justice Challenge is an annual national campaign sponsored by Do Something, Inc. that runs for two weeks in January prior to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The challenge is for elementary and high school students to perform as many acts of kindness and justice as possible. A spirit of friendly competition keeps participants pushing each other to do better.

Students must document each act of kindness or justice, and teachers help tally them by individual and by class. Participants receive certificates and posters, trophies, and cash grants. A computer goes to the individual student and school that submit the most acts. The quality of these acts is judged as well by a special panel.

Students can even participate through the Internet. Do Something, Inc. also has grade-appropriate activities for teachers to use in class that focus on character traits associated with kindness and justice -- compassion, fairness, honesty, nonviolence, service, and courage.

Eco Teams
Global Action Plan for the Earth, Inc.
PO Box 428
Woodstock, NY124989
914/679-4830; Fax: 914/679-4834

Probably the most direct action most of us can take to help the environment starts in our own households. Recognizing this, the Global Action Plan of Earth Day 1990 (GAP) introduced the EcoTeam concept for reducing household consumption. The idea is to form neighborhood groups - EcoTeams - where participants support and motivate each other in bringing their households to more sustainable consumption levels.

Using GAP's Household EcoTeam Workbook, written by David Gershon and Robert Gilman, the program simplifies its extensive environmental information into six areas to take action: garbage, water, energy, transportation, consumption choices, and empowerment. EcoTeams take on one action per month.

Project VoteSmart
The Center for National Independence in Politics
129 NW 4th St., Suite 204
Corvallis, OR 97330
541/754-2746  Fax: 541/754-2747

Project VoteSmart offers a variety of free services, publications, and political guides - all designed as unbiased reference tools for the concerned US voter who would like to get involved in shaping the direction of the country. These tools include:

Voter's Research Hotline: 800/622-SMAR(T) -- Call to find out which bills are coming up for a vote, track legislation, compare your congressperson's campaign promises to his or her actual votes, and more.

Vote Smart Web Yellow Pages -- Research before you vote by surfing the thousands of web sites listed in this book  -- from political parties and think tanks to news groups and research sites.

US Government Owner's Manual -- Research the votes, campaign finance data, evaluations, and contact information for your congressional delegation.

Study Circles Resource Center
697A Pomfret St. PO Box 203
Pomfret, CT 06258
203/928-2616; Fax: 203/928-3713

Founded in 1990, the nonpartisan Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC) is the place to go for resources and tips on setting up a study circle. SCRC hasstudy materials on such topics as racism and race relations, violence, homelessness, sexual harassment, the environment, and more.

Besides offering basic guidelines for starting a study circle, the SCRC will help groups develop their own materials and network with individuals, other study circles, and organizations.

The Environmentally Friendly Taxes Kit- offers strategies for local tax reform to reduce urban sprawl, reform transportation, conserve energy, reduce pollution, redevelop waterfronts, and clean up water.

The Welfare Reform Kit- ties welfare reforms to sustainable job creation, getting low-income constituents to the decision-making table, and targeting micro-enterprise for welfare recipients.

The Human Rights Organizer Kit- uses this year's 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" as a sparkplate for ideas and activities that highlight the connection between sustainable development and human, economic, and worker rights.

Sustainable America also offers a Technical Assistance Bank, where organizations can either deposit or withdraw a skill or service related to sustainable economic development.

The Way of Council
by Jack Zimmerman with Virginia Coyle
Las Vegas: Bramble Books, 1996
308 pages, $16.95

In their book, The Way of Council, Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle provide a step-by-step process for forming and facilitating councils. Councils are circles of communication that can help resolve conflict, deepen discussions, and foster connections between individuals and diverse groups.

The authors draw on contemporary Native American techniques of group dynamics to create four simple intentions that they feel are key to the success of a council: speak from the heart, listen from the heart, be of "lean" expression, and be spontaneous.

In addition to providing general directions for facilitating a council, Coyle and Zimmerman examine how readers can tailor the process for use in the workplace, family settings, the classroom, and even intimate relationships. 

NW Earth Institute
921 SW Morrison, Suite 532
Portland, OR 97205
503/227-2807; Fax: 503/227-2917

This non-profit organization aims "to motivate citizens to accept responsibility for the Earth and to act on that commitment in their personal lives, at work, and in their bioregion." To that end, NWEI has designed several courses that are or will soon be available to groups across the country.

Voluntary Simplicity-- This popular course, which is available throughout the US, allows you to explore with others the benefits of simplicity and how it might relate to your life.

Deep Ecology-- This course looks deeply at our relationship with the Earth and our responsibility for it. Participants will discuss how their personal values affect how we view and treat the Earth.

Bioregional Perspective--  Until modern times, people's survival depended on an intimate understanding of and respect for their region's distinct geography, climate, plants, and animals. This course, which will be available nationwide in the fall of 1998, helps you get to know the place where you live.

Sustainability -- This course, which will be available by the Winter of 1998, explores all aspects of sustainable living, from how you interact with your community, to your business, to what you buy and how you eat.

(Editor's note: NWEI has a partnership with YES! in which certain NWEI supporters receive YES! as a premium.)

Open Space
Open Space Technology: A User's Guide,
by Harrison Owen, San Francisco:
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1997,
166 pages, $24.95 (paper)

Open Space Institute
15347 SE 49th Place
Bellevue, WA 98006

Advocates of Open Space Technology like to say that the best part of most conferences is what happens during the coffee breaks -- when people connect with others of similar interests and discuss topics they find exciting.

Harrison Owen, the developer of Open Space Technology, wondered what would happen if the whole conference were like the coffee break. What if the people who showed up created an agenda based on their passions and took responsibility for convening the sessions they most cared about?

Harrison Owen and other Open Space facilitators have now held hundreds of such conferences around the world -- for groups ranging from four to 400 -- with top corporate managers, political leaders, and ordinary citizens.

The intent is simple: people create and participate in the discussions that are of the most interest to them. They see clearly that the success or failure of any group is up to them.

One of the most important features is found in the one law of open space -- the Law of Two Feet. If at any time you feel that you are neither learning nor contributing, you must use your two feet and go to some more productive place.

The result is a high degree of engagement and self-organization. Together, people come up with ideas, approaches, issues, and solutions that may be well beyond the imagination of even the most creative conference organizers.

The Millennium Masks Game:
A living conversation across time
Positive Futures Network
YES! A Journal of Positive Futures  
PO Box 10818
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
Contact us for availability.

What if future generations helped make decisions about resource use and waste? What if our ancestors could offer their advice and microbes and animals also had a say? How would our conversations be deepened if these voices, plus those of the wealthiest and the poorest people of today, were all heard?

The Millennium Masks Game was inspired in part by The Council of All Beings, developed by Joanna Macy and John Seed, and by Starhawk's book, The Fifth Sacred Thing. This kit includes instructions and supplies for making and using masks to facilitate a powerful role-playing experience in which participants take on the voices and personae of ancestors, future generations, animals, microbes, the rich and the poor. 

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