17 January 2007

Two Minutes to Go

The Doomsday Clock has been moved forward for the first time in two years. We are now at 11:55pm.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists invented the clock in 1947, as a symbolic representation of the danger the world faced from major man-made catastrophe, namely nuclear war. If we get to midnight, it's because the world done blowed itself up.

In 1947, near the beginning of the Cold War and its concomitant arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, the clock's big hand stood at 11:53. The closest it has come to midnight was in 1953, when both countries tested nuclear weapons. The Atomic Scientists then set it forward to 11:58.

The clock has moved forward and back over the years. The earliest it has been was 11:43 in 1991, when the US and USSR signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the official end of the Cold War. 1998's nuclear bomb tests by India and Pakistan and the United States' withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, among other things, brought the clock forward to 11:53, where it had started back at the beginning.

These two minutes announced today are the result not only of increased nuclear instability in the world -- North Korea, Iran, the U.S. and former-Soviet Union's non-diminishing stockpiles -- but of global warming.

So, for 60 years, this group of concerned scientists has assessed the main threat to the world's safety in terms of nuclear weapons, which, even in the democratic United States most people don't have any control over. But today they tell us that we're two minutes closer to total destruction in part because of climate change brought about by our own ordinary daily lives. Tick tick tick.



Blogger Stuntmother said...

It's a very graphic and somewhat macabre image of the inevitable result of the waste runoff in our "ordinary" lives. In which I am horribly complicit, this year especially.


6:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home