Doomsday Clock: the alarm clock that keeps getting snoozed

The doomsday clock that rests at 2 minutes to midnight.

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The doomsday clock that rests at 2 minutes to midnight.

By: Angelique Richardson, Editor

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Many times throughout the years, we are given a warning of the world approaching an end. But, each and every time the world does not cease to exist and we get to continue our daily lives. But according to the Doomsday Clock, we may not have that long.

What is it?

According to an editorial published in the Richmond Times, “The decision to move the clock’s hands is made by the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in consultation with the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors. The panel includes 14 Nobel laureates.On January 23, 2019, the Doomsday Clock was set at 11:58 pm,  2 minutes before midnight. It has sat in place since 2018. But the clock symbolizes more than just doom. In fact, it has less to do with the end of the world, and more to do with how we are treating the world. A metaphor.

The clock was created in 1947 by artist Martyl Langsdorf during the aftermath of WWII. In 1947, the clock was set at 7 minutes to midnight. Ever few years since, it gets a evaluation and changes accordingly. The most time that has been on the clock was 17 minutes before midnight and that was in 1991 at the end of the Cold War. 

Why does it change?

So why are we so close to destruction? Nuclear weapons and climate change,” states the experts at CNN.  

The last time the clock was so close to midnight was in 1953. Which was when the United States and Soviet Union were in a nuclear arms race. This year climate change is a big issue that politics and people care for. Greenland lost an average of 281 billion tons of ice per year. While Antarctica lost about 119 billion tons. Glaciers are retreating in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa. Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century, and is continuously rising. The Carbon dioxide emissions are again rising.

Nuclear threats between the United States and North Korea, seem to be publicized all of the time. The fact that our society takes nothing seriously is also a factor in the clock. As a society, we tend to disregard everything until it directly affects us as a person. Our selfish acts and the way we forget to give back to the world, is another reason the time ticks. As said earlier, the clock is a metaphoric warning solely to make the public aware of our bad choices.  But according to the clock we did not decline, nor improve in the last year. It has been 2 minutes from midnight since 2018.

The outcome

As stated in USA Today, MIT scientist Susan Solomon said, “If we don’t start reducing emissions in this next decade, it’s pretty clear we’ll have a world we don’t want to live in. … This coming decade is absolutely critical, and we’re running out of time.”

I do not think there is much we can do about problems including nuclear warfare or climate change.  I feel as if we hit such a point in time, that there is a way for us to undo and resolve every single interaction we’ve ever had. Many of us, do not watch the news, or see what is going on, so I do not think this is an issue that this generation cares about. But, I do think this generation in terms of being activists or having acceptance, we do that well.

So weigh in. What time do you thing the Doomsday clock should be set to?


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