It is now two and a half minutes to midnight. That’s what was announced today by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Who are they and what does that mean?
The organization was started in 1945 by scientists from the Manhattan Project who “could not remain aloof to the consequences of their work”. Check them out here – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
As for what it means…the clock is a representation of how close we are to catastrophe. The board takes into account real and existential threats that effect humanity’s future. This is the first time since 1953 that the clock has moved closer than three minutes to midnight and the first time in 70 years that it has not moved a full minute. Optimistically, they are allowing for the fact that the new American administration was just put in and all have not been confirmed yet.
For the last two years, the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock stayed set at three minutes before the hour, the closest it had been to midnight since the early 1980s.
We’ve been as far away as 17 minutes to midnight back in 1991. And while the Bulletin keeps warning about these threats such as nuclear proliferation, climate change and other emerging technology…politicians seem to be taking them less and less seriously. There is now a man in the highest office in America who carelessly tosses around remarks about nuclear weapons and sets other nuclear powers on edge.
Both his statements and his actions as president-elect have broken with historical precedent in unsettling ways. He has made ill-considered comments about expanding the US nuclear arsenal. He has shown a troubling propensity to discount or outright reject expert advice related to international security, including the conclusions of intelligence experts. And his nominees to head the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency dispute the basics of climate science.
Every day there are more statements coming out of the White House about the removal of environmental policies and the muzzling of scientists. This was a big enough issue when happening in Canada under the previous Conservative government, it is a massive issue when it begins happening in the U.S. and this cannot be taken lightly. But it is hardly the only threat we fact in the future and I encourage you to read the entire Doomsday Clock statement for this year.
I find the closing of the statement something that should be focused on.
In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.
We must not stand idly by and allow facts to be distorted and the scientific method to be ignored. We must all speak out in whatever forum we have at our disposal. We must educate and we must all, every one of us, be involved. The time for silence is at an end.
Read the entire statement here – 2017 Doomsday Clock Statement