The Doomsday Clock

I’m rather shocked today at how few people know about the Doomsday Clock.

I was trying to be moderately outraged about DC Comics having to apologise for ‘making light of it’ by promoting their new Doomsday Clock series alongside the news of the real clock moving 30 seconds closer to midnight, and literally everyone I’ve mentioned it to has gone:

“The what clock? What is this…an actual clock?…”

For those that still don’t know:

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board, the Clock represents an analogy for the threat of global nuclear war.

Since 2007, it has also reflected climate change and new developments in the life sciences and technology that could inflict irrevocable harm to humanity

The Clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as “midnight” and The Bulletin’s opinion on how close the world is to a global catastrophe as a number of “minutes” to midnight.

Its original setting in 1947 (Just after World War 2!) was seven minutes to midnight. It has been set backward and forward 22 times since then, the smallest-ever number of minutes to midnight being two (in 1953 and 2018) and the largest seventeen (in 1991).

As of January 2018, the Clock is set at two minutes to midnight, due to global threat of nuclear war, the United States not being involved in world leadership roles, and climate change.

This setting is the Clock’s joint-closest approach to midnight since its introduction, only matched by that of 1953.

So to summarise, in the history of this concept, the team at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have never felt more ‘at risk’ than they do today.

This week is apparently the least safest we’ve been as a planet since World War 2.

It feels odd hearing this as an adult.

When people talk about the height of the Cold War I imagine everyone going about their days with a haze of darkness above them.

That there were no good days as everyone waited for the bomb to drop and destroy us all.

This week doesn’t feel anywhere near how I imagined that would feel – which is slightly alarming in a way because if the issue is ‘man-made catastrophe’ and there’s no real feeling of pressure to avert it then surely this will get worse?

I don’t understand how one of, if not the, most powerful countries in the world can be lead by a man who scientists are considering a huge threat to our global safety.

It seems absurd.

I hate referencing Hitler, because it is a lazy argument, but when you think about him ruling Germany they weren’t a major power. They were a spent force. He capitalised on their down trodden ways and executed a rise to power that can’t really be repeated in the modern era.

Trump is something else, nobody seems to rate him.

I’ve never met or spoken to genuine Trump fans. They’re just people you see on TV who are a little unhinged and crazy. Every vocal American seems to hate the man, yet there he is.

Why aren’t they doing something about it?

Climate change is another one where I don’t really feel anything of note is being done by the people who matter.

Everyone agrees we should clean up, but because our side of the world did all our dirty industrialisation back in the 1800/early 1900s before we’d realised the damage it causes, we’re ready to put a stop to it whilst other countries are trying to catch up with 100+ years of development with us telling them they’re destroying the world by doing so.

We should set proper changes in place with hard deadlines.

In security we have a big thing coming up called GDPR that has been on the cards for 2-3 years now, and later this year there’s a hard stop where you basically end up with insane fines and a good hard kicking if you’re not compliant.

Why hasn’t the world set something similar for climate change?
We have these emission targets, but countries are opting in and out like a yo-yo.
Refusing to meet them, and so forth.

Somewhere companies are literally just pouring rubbish into the sea, why aren’t we annihilating them? We’ve banned all these micro beads and so forth but the horse has bolted, we need to be making a plan with this stuff.

One slightly mad idea I thought about was building our own modern version of the great pyramids.

Get a stupidly mad amount of plastic and general waste together, all the things that can’t be broken down, and just build an insane monument that stands as a reminder for not wasting stuff.

Every country could have these, as many as it takes, just massive areas that are there forever and wont break down, that remind us that this stuff is bad and needs to stop.

It wouldn’t be hard to stick a capsule around it so the bits are held in place and nothing ‘leaks’ or whatever.

Draw a line under it and don’t let anyone else make the problem worse…

I imagine it isn’t that simple, but reusing the worst bits is the only way we can move on…

What would you do?

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