By Aneri Upadhyay
The world on fire, the sun exploding, an asteroid hitting Earth — everyone has a different definition of total annihilation. Most people can agree, however, that it is not a desirable event. The Doomsday Clock symbolizes how close the world is to ending, and it just moved 10 seconds closer.
The Doomsday Clock was created in 1947 as a symbol of how long the world is relatively away from annihilation. According to Reuters, the end of the world is represented by the hand striking midnight. Threats leading to the end could be from anything, such as political instability, environmental change or disease. The hands of the clock can move towards and further away from midnight as the world changes.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is in charge of the clock, according to The New York Times. Since 2020, the clock has been set to 100 seconds to midnight. However, it has recently been set to 90 seconds from midnight and is the closest the hands have ever been to the end of the world.
There are many causes behind this change. A major cause is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Other factors include climate change, misinformation online and disease.
President and chief executive of the Bulletin, Rachel Bronson, commented on the change of the Doomsday Clock at a news conference in Washington.
According to Reuters, she said that “Russia's thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict by accident, intention or miscalculation is a terrible risk. The possibilities that the conflict could spin out of anyone's control remains high.”
She also stated that, for the first time, the message will be translated into Russian and Ukrainian in order to reach the target audiences.
There are many concerns over the clock moving and what this means for the future state of the world. As stated by PBS, former Mongolian president Elbegdorj Tsakhia said that “we are really closer to that doomsday” and that “people and scientists are warning us and we have to wake up now.”
Other world events that are a cause for concern are an increase of uranium enrichment in Iran, missile tests in North Korea, pandemics from diseases carried by animals, and an increase of nuclear weapons in China, according to AP News. The Bulletin mentioned at the news conference that these are other threats that have contributed to the loss of 10 seconds on the Doomsday Clock.
As reported by NPR, former High Commissioner for Human Rights for the United Nations, Mary Robinson, reflected on what is needed in order to combat the worsening conditions of the world.
"The Doomsday Clock is sounding an alarm for the whole of humanity. We are on the brink of a precipice,” Robinson said. “But our leaders are not acting at sufficient speed or scale to secure a peaceful and livable planet.”