The Doomsday Clock – Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight

Nuclear Bomb

Doomsday Clock 2017

The Doomsday Clock isn’t an actual clock as the name suggests it to be. It’s not a clock that will perfectly predict when humanity will face a global catastrophe. Instead, the Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a global catastrophe. There are many questions someone may have after finding out about this clock. Why do we have a Doomsday Clock and who created it? How does the Doomsday Clock work? Can we trust the Doomsday Clock?

Why do we have a Doomsday Clock?

The first appearance of the Doomsday Clock was on the cover of the first edition of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists magazine. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was developed in 1945 by concerned scientists that worked in the Manhattan Project which was the project that developed the first atomic bomb. The scientists developed this magazine because they felt morally responsible to inform and warn the public about the possible catastrophic consequences of their creations. Back then it was only about nuclear bombs and nuclear accidents but through the years the Bulletin has included other factors that could also cause a global catastrophe such as global warming, bio weapons or cyber security.

How does the Doomsday Clock work?

The symbol of the Doomsday Clock itself was created by Martyl Langsdorf, wife of Alexander Langsdorf Jr. which was one of the Manhattan Project scientists. The Doomsday Clock debuted at 7 minutes to midnight. There was no real reason why it was put at that time. Martyl Langsdorf herself said, “It seemed the right time”. However, the Doomsday Clock that we know today isn’t arbitrary. The clock will always show the hour hand at zero or twelve and the minute hand will always show the minutes to midnight. The closer the minute hand is to midnight the more likely it is that there will be a global catastrophe. The Bulleting announces the Doomsday Clock every year. This year they announced that it is two and a half minutes to midnight. This is the closest we’ve been to midnight since the year 1953 when the US and the Soviet Union started developing and testing hydrogen bombs.

Doomsday Clock Timeline

What does two and a half minutes to midnight mean?

This does not necessary mean that you should have your apocalypse kit ready at any moment or that you should go buy such kits. This means that the current situation the world is facing at the moment can have disastrous consequences, especially if we don’t try to do anything about it. The Doomsday Clock come together with a statement that shows why the clock is at a given time. What is interesting about this year’s statement is that they included the political situation in the United States of America, in other words President Trump and his cabinet. This doesn’t mean that the Bulletin is a bunch of liberals trying to “attack” Donald Trump’s presidency. The reason he is in the statement is because of the way he and his team talk about climate. As you may or may not know president Trump and his team haven’t officially recognized climate change caused by human activity and I don’t believe they will do anytime soon. This behavior towards climate change will most probably stop or slow down any progress we’ve made these past few years. The Bulletin also saw this behavior towards climate change coming from other international leaders which make the matter even more serious. In addition, reckless language by international leaders was also mentioned in the statement. This obviously makes sense, communication between countries is extremely important.

We are already our third month into the year so we can all hope this year goes by as quickly as possible. At the same time, we can also hope the international leaders open their eyes to what is climate change. This is the one thing that I’ll never understand, the 2017 Doomsday Clock Statement could not have said it better, “Climate change should not be a partisan political issue”.

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