AlterNET at the Fate of the Earth Conference

By Margaret Gouin | 1986-08-01 12:00:00

THE THIRD BIENNIAL CONFERENCE ON THE FATE OF the Earth (FOTE) was held in Ottawa, June 4-8. About 1000 delegates from around the world participated, bringing together individuals and organizations concerned about peace, the environment and international development.

The AlterNET Communications Group was present at FOTE in the form of the "nonstop computer workshop," a room equipped with two IBM "clone" microcomputers, modems, and a phone line. We wanted to introduce computer communications to novices. We had set up a demonstration electronic bulletin board system ("BBS") with electronic mail (private messaging), public messaging, and conferencing. We gave beginners' workshops on computer communications and the use of a "BBS," including by ham radio.

We were also anxious to increase communications with people in the peace/ environment/ development communities who were already online. On Saturday we held a "strategy and planning session"; almost 50 people turned up. Most were from Canada and the U.S. but Tokyo, Papua New Guinea, and the Caribbean were also represented. Mike Shuman of PeaceNet advised us that we could all get free accounts on the "PeaceNet I" network up to mid-July, so we all agreed to get accounts and continue "meeting" via the green or amber screen. Those interested in environment and development should contact EcoNet, a network devoted to those issues.

FOTE had almost 100 workshops on a wide range of topics. There were no formal arrangements for recording workshops. To help overcome this limitation, we got some Radio Shack Model 100s together and instructed volunteers in their use. These people were sent out to cover the workshops they were interested in. Their reports were then uploaded either directly to the BBS or to disk in an IBM clone. A print-out of each report was posted outside our workshop. We were pleased by the response: Many people stopped to read the reports and, on the last day, to obtain diskettes with the workshop notes, even though they were still in rough form. We plan to edit them and make them available both electronically and in print. The M-100s evoked more interest than the IBM clones. Many took their first "solo flight" in computerdom on them.

The AlterNET Communications Group can be contacted by mail c/o Margaret Gouin, 1 - 447 McLeod St., Ottawa K1R 5P5. Phone 613/231-2977. Electronically, AlterNET can be reached at the following addresses:

The Source:Margaret Gouin, BDA570(Party name: RUNE).

CoSy: Richard Kerr (rmkerr) or Margaret Gouin (rune).

Envoy: Richard Kerr (

CompuServe: Richard Kerr (71706,1553).

PeaceNet: Richard Kerr (r/kerr) or M. Gouin (rune/mg).

EcoNet: Richard Kerr (ccic or Margaret Gouin (alternet).

PeaceNet: 1-415-486-0264 (Mark Graham).

EcoNet: 1-707-874-3060 (Christian Stalberg).

Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1986

Peace Magazine Aug-Sep 1986, page 10. Some rights reserved.

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