January 18, 2007

it's 5 minutes before midnight?

The Doomsday Clock has moved 2 minutes closer to midnight from 7 to 5 till. And this means . . . well . . . what exactly does this mean?

The Doomsday Clock is basically a symbol, created by a group called The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS), to represent our impending ruin. Midnight essentially represents the end of our civilization. As the hands on the clock approach midnight, humanity is said to approach apocalypse. The clock was originally created in 1947 to symbolize the danger we were headed into with the nuclear arms race between the United States and Soviet Russia. The closest to midnight that the clock has been was in 1953 when the US and the Soviets decided to make hydrogen bombs. The time was 2 minutes until midnight.

Here's a summary of why the BAS decided to once again move the hands:

"The world stands at the brink of a second nuclear age. The United States and Russia remain ready to stage a nuclear attack within minutes, North Korea conducts a nuclear test, and many in the international community worry that Iran plans to acquire the Bomb. Climate change also presents a dire challenge to humanity. Damage to ecosystems is already taking place; flooding, destructive storms, increased drought, and polar ice melt are causing loss of life and property."
But they also give recommendations on how to improve our situation:

"Reduce the launch readiness of U.S. and Russian nuclear forces and completely remove nuclear weapons from the day-to-day operations of their militaries. Reduce the number of nuclear weapons by dismantling, storing, and destroying more than 20,000 warheads over the next 10 years, as well as greatly increasing efforts to locate, store, and secure nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere. Stop production of nuclear weapons material, including highly enriched uranium and plutonium—w hether in military or civilian facilities. Engage in serious and candid discussion about the potential expansion of nuclear power worldwide. While nuclear energy production does not produce carbon dioxide, it does raise other significant concerns, such as the health and environmental hazards of nuclear waste, the production of nuclear materials that can be diverted to the production of weapons, and the safety and security of the plants themselves."
I'm not sure how much the regular, everyday person can help . . . considering these suggestions anyways. It's not like the average joe has a nuclear warhead laying around, not to mention the ability to dismantle it in his shed. So, I guess, besides voting and/or protesting, it's kind of a wait and see what the governments are going to do. Climate change, on the other hand, I can see regular citizens taking action on. The question is . . . are they being motivated to act?

The decision to move the minute hand on the clock is made by BAS's Board of Directors. Their Board of Directors consult with a Board of Sponsors on the decision. The Board of Sponsors include 18 Nobel Laureates.

For more: http://www.thebulletin.org/weekly-highlight/20070117.html

No comments: