Three Minutes to Midnight

The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the body responsible for setting the “Doomsday Clock,” recently adjusted the hands of the clock forward by two minutes to 11:57 p.m.  And so, the metaphor for the risk of the end our species, has ticked ahead, a little closer to the last cataclysm.

If world leaders are not forced by their constituents and stakeholders to take action to forestall catastrophe, the scientists warn, we are just minutes away from our end as a species, due to nuclear war, climate change, and other environmental factors.  A statement issued by the organization is sobering, indeed: “World leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth.”

I wonder why the recent announcement of the adjustment of the Doomsday Clock has not met with the same level of alarm in the media as such announcements have generated in the past? I wonder whether we no longer believe the warnings carry much weight or whether they are unwelcome reminders of the certainty that their predictions are just a bit closer to becoming reality.

Perhaps it’s just a temporary mood, but my thoughts this morning tend toward the latter. And I think human beings have become so frustrated with the actions of our species that we’re beginning to think it’s for the best. Violence, poverty, unbridled greed, hate,loathing, religious fanaticism, dwindling resources, inadequate means of distributing food, destruction of natural habitat at breathtaking speed, starvation, oppression.  That’s quite enough to make extinction look like a reasonable alternative to the world as it is today.

I wonder whether an unexpected development on the world stage will give humanity reason for renewed hope.  If so, it must happen fast.  We only have three minutes.

And with that happy thought, I’ll now prepare for a short visit to the pottery studio in a little while to take care of some last-minute work with clay pots in advance of extinction.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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