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BKY2KSGC.RVW   990417

"The Y2K Survival Guide and Cookbook", Dorothy R. Bates/Albert K.
Bates, 1999, 0-9669317-0-X, U$12.95
%A   Dorothy R. Bates y2k@ecovillage.org
%A   Albert K. Bates y2k@ecovillage.org
%C   560 Farm Road, Summertown, TN   38483-0090
%D   1999
%G   0-9669317-0-X
%I   Ecovillage
%O   U$12.95 931-964-3571 fax: 931-964-3518 catalog@usit.net
%P   124 p.
%T   "The Y2K Survival Guide and Cookbook"

The structure of the book isn't very clear, but the first section
would seem to be an introduction to the problem.  (The other sections
are labelled "steps.")  Aside from saying that there is going to be
massive upheaval it signally fails to explain why or how.  The book
tells you to start your preparations by going through your home (even
worming through crawlspaces and attics) and noting down every single
item you find.  While this exercise will undoubtedly stand you in good
stead the next time your homeowner's insurance comes due, the material
doesn't give a good idea of what you are looking for.  Two very good
suggestions are to get paper copies of all your financial and other
important records (although I'm sure the landfills are going to be
working overtime during 2000 if they aren't needed) and getting
together with neighbours.

Step one talks about all kinds of disasters and has nothing at all to
do with Y2K.  Water is discussed in step two.  Some ideas, such as
adding a trace of ascorbic acid to stored water, are good.  Other
points are questionable: why does water quality deteriorate in clear
plastic containers, and, if it does, why are they ideal for water
storage?  As with most of the rest of the book, it also looks at
issues in isolation rather than together: if you have no power, how
are you going to boil water in order to purify it?  This is repeated
in step three, waste disposal, which recommends the construction of a
composting toilet.  Humidity is kept down by a constantly operating
fan.  (What runs the fan?)  Step four, on heat and light, is, again, a
mix of good and bad.  Although it does mention that you need to stock
wood *NOW* if you are going to rely on it, nowhere does it mention how
much you are going to need.  (I have split, stacked, and used wood.  I
even know how much a cord is--and I know how fast it disappears.) 
Chafing dishes and food warmers are useless for food preparation.  The
discussion of solar power does a good (though perhaps optimistic) job
of estimating the cost of a replacement system, but fails to mention
that we will be talking about the depths of winter for Y2K.  The tools
listed in step five would be great--if we were talking about camping. 
(I haven't heard that there are any "embedded processors" in lumber,
so you probably don't need to worry about building shelters.  Fishing
gear probably isn't too necessary: I live near a stream, and I've even
seen hatchlings in it, but not during the winter.  As for vegetable
seeds--if it lasts that long, we are in very serious trouble.)  The
food storage discussion in step six has serious problems.  In common
with many such books, it ignores the fact that rice, beans, flour and
other long term storage goodies require a lot of energy (power,
electricity, wood, heat, whatever) for preparation.  It also assumes
that we are interested in going back to the land in a big way: getting
into food canning and building solar dryers.  Step seven starts out
well by addressing recreational needs, but then decides we all need to
go into gardening.  (See also step five.)

An afterword tries to use the problem to push for sustainable
development.  (By the way, Daedelus was the inventor; Icarus was a kid
who wouldn't do what his old man told him.)

The recipes may be interesting: they have little or nothing to do with
surviving in a situation where food, water, and particularly power
supplies may be unreliable.

A fairly obvious attempt to jump on the bandwagon du jour, this has a
few good ideas, but should not be relied on.

copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999   BKY2KSGC.RVW   990417