After all the hype and preparation, Y2K came and went without
so much as a bleep on the computer screen. But instead of congratulating
ourselves for a disaster avoided, Great Lakes Radio Consortium
commentator Suzanne Elston thinks we should be remembering what
caused the problem in the first place:
After all the hype and preparation, Y2K came and went without so much as a bleep on the computer
screen. But instead of congratulating ourselves for a disaster avoided, Great Lakes Radio
Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston thinks we should be remembering what caused the problem in
the first place;
I have to admit I was one of the few people who didn’t stockpile canned goods and cash in
anticipation of the Y2K crisis. And although I had plenty of candles on hand New Year’s Eve, they
were there to create a festive atmosphere for my dinner guests, not to light our way into some
post millennium darkness.
But if all the hype leading up to Y2K wasn’t enough, ever since the greatest non-event of the
century came and went, we’ve had to listen to all this self-congratulatory nonsense. All the hard
work. All the careful planning. Aren’t we great? Doesn’t anybody remember we caused this mess in
the first place? We keep developing these new technologies and then applying them without ever
looking beyond the most obvious consequences.
Things like the personal computer promise to change our lives. And they do, but until there’s a
crisis – like the silly Y2K thing – nobody bothers to ask at what cost.
Look at the environment. We deal with the obvious and forget about everything else. So if a
chemical’s highly toxic or a nuclear device is highly explosive, then we have a tendency to avoid
it, or at least try to contain it somehow.
But look at things that have had a subtle but deadly impact, like chlorofluorocarbons. Down here
an earth they were the greatest thing since sliced bread. Inexpensive, inert substances that could
do everything from keeping our food frozen and our houses cool to cleaning our computer chips. And
then we found out that CFCs were destroying the ozone layer. Who knew? Better yet – who even
bothered to ask?
Look: I’m not saying that we should abandon any new ideas in case they might backfire on us. What
I am saying is that everything has a cost… everything. And we could avoid a whole lot of trouble
and panic, if we really bothered to look at the price tag in the first place.
Suzanne Elston is a syndicated columnist living in Courtice, Ontario. She comes to us by way of
the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.