Doomsday Clock

Maeve Doherty, Broadcast Journalism

On Tuesday, January 24, the Doomsday clock, which is located in Chicago, was moved from 100 seconds to 90 seconds, putting humanity 10 seconds closer to midnight, or the end of the world.

The Doomsday Clock was created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947 as a metaphor for humanity’s distance from total nuclear/ecological annihilation. The Bulletin warned humanity of the dangers of nuclear weaponry and the continuing threats created by the climate “crisis”, well as biological threats. The clock features the 9-12 hours on a standard analog clock. Similar to a clock, there are two hands displaying hours and minutes, however, this clock does not move normally. The clock is able to move backwards or forwards, or pause all together. The clock’s hands will move accordingly to the dangers that  the human race faces throughout the world. The closer to midnight, the closer the world is to destruction.

Nathan Gaurin

The Doomsday Clock was set at 90 seconds to midnight last Tuesday, which is the closest it has ever been. What was the cause of this ten second change? Well, to no one’s “surprise”, it’s the continuous threats made by Vladimir Putin to take nuclear action on Ukraine with this ongoing war. “The decision to move the clock 10 seconds forward this year is largely due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation, the Bulletin said in a news release”  (CNN). The Doomsday clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020, but moved on Tuesday, largely in part due to the invasion of Ukraine which leads to the increased risk of nuclear escalation.

Since “then”, it has been monitored by a bulletin of atomic scientists, who look into the world news and current events to determine how close we are to a human extinction. The Bulletin has said that the clock is not a “forecasting tool” and it doesn’t predict the future, but is a symbol of threats to humanity.  Each second doesn’t represent how many years or decades the world is from the apocalypse; the clock’s time isn’t meant to calculate threats, but to spread enlightenment to the world and encourage debate about Climate Change and nuclear disarmament. In hopes that the Doomsday clock will never hit midnight?

Once in a lifetime occurrences are no longer rare with the doomsday clock existing. With the events of Covid-19, the total number of infectious disease outbreaks has increased significantly more over the last years. “The challenges outlined by today’s announcement by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists could not be more global in nature,” said Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland. No one can face the challenges on their own, humans created these threats and we can reduce them.