In light of recent events, scientists have moved the hands of the Doomsday clock closer to midnight, signifying the steadily approaching imminent fate of humanity. This means that we as a species are closer to self-destruction than ever before. And we have Donald Trump to thank for that.
Every year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit organization filled with PhDs and Nobel Laureates, sets this clock which “conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making.” The group decides whether the events of the last 12 months have moved humanity closer or further from destruction. After 2016, the group moved the hands so that the clock is 2 1/2 minutes to midnight; this is the closest it’s been to midnight since the first hydrogen bomb was tested in 1953. Last year, the clock had stayed at 3 minutes from midnight where it had been moved in 2015.
Between dangerous political rhetoric, climate change and nuclear threats, it’s no wonder this symbolic clock is ticking closer and closer towards doomsday. And although there were multiple reasons and considerations as to why it was moved, one person in particular influenced the decision a great deal. “Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter,” Bulletin scientists David Titley and Lawrence M. Krauss wrote in an New York Times op-ed.
The Bulletin scientist group identifies now-President Donald Trump’s careless statements on nuclear weapons – amongst other issues – as well as his ignorance about climate change. Both nuclear warfare and climate change have always weighed heavily on the clock’s position, but this year proved to be a dangerous time for both. Trump’s refusal to compromise, combined with his ego, is putting all of humanity at risk.
“This year’s Clock deliberations felt more urgent than usual,” Rachel Bronson, the executive director and publisher of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said in a statement. “Trusted sources of information came under attack, fake news was on the rise, and words were used by a President-elect of the United States in cavalier and often reckless ways to address the twin threats of nuclear weapons and climate change.”
“Today’s complex global environment is in need of deliberate and considered policy responses,” she continued. “It is ever more important that senior leaders across the globe calm rather than stoke tensions that could lead to war, either by accident or miscalculation.”
Hopefully humanity survives the next year, and then the following 3. If not, at least Trump won’t be the US President anymore!
[H/T: USA Today]