By Sterling Alic, Junior
In this special edition of the world report, we explore the possibilities of the impossible, or rather, the unthinkable––the frightening thought of having no world.
Three Minutes to Midnight––this is the phrase that has been thrown around as scientists grapple with our planet’s troubling present and its potentially catastrophic future. And what does it actually mean? Well, it’s as ominous and foreboding as it sounds: we are very close to destroying our planet.
Every year, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists sets the minute hand for the so-called Doomsday Clock, a symbolic device that indicates how close we are from ending life on Earth as we know it. The closer the minute hand is to midnight, the closer we are to a global cataclysm. Last year, the clock moved from five minutes to midnight to three minutes to midnight as a result of global climate change and increasing threat from nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
And the fact that the clock remains at 11:57 PM, or three minutes to midnight this year is “not good news,” Lawrence Krauss, the chair of the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors, argues. The Bulletin explains that despite the progress made in agreements like the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, world leaders have still failed to properly address the imminent threats of climate change and nuclear arsenals. However, tensions between Russia and the U.S. have risen to near Cold War levels, as they modernize their nuclear weapons in spite of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; the diplomatic situation with North Korea is more complicated, as they have claimed to have tested already hydrogen bomb; and Pakistan and India, countries who are also experiencing rising tensions, are expanding their nuclear arsenals.
The Bulletin ultimately does not want to provide a dim and pessimistic view of the future, but rather a cautionary report of the steps that need to be taken in order to move the clock back. They call on us, the people, to demand that our leaders reduce spending on modernization of nuclear weapons, diplomatically engage with North Korea to reduce nuclear threats, and follow up the Paris agreement with action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Until then, we’ll just be 3 degrees Celsius from experiencing massive global catastrophe, just be three seconds from having a world destroyed by mass nuclear warfare, just three minutes from midnight.