The Clock Is Ticking

January 27, 2016

World-s-Doomsday-Clock-Now-Shows-3-Minutes-to-Midnight-470994-3
Over the years I have often been painted as a cold hearted pessimist, when in my own defence I considered myself as something of a realist.

Spotting a possible correlation between the time lines of the 200 years since the Industrial Revolution, a population explosion from one to seven billion and a pattern of climate change brought nothing but derision.
Population

I watched the world divide into two camps, “we need to do something”. “We need to do nothing”. I felt like Butch Cassidy in that movie when he said “ I have vision and the rest of the world wears sun glasses”. That and given the fact that the world is run by committees, I consoled myself with the simple thought that, “as a species we were screwed and because of us so was the vast majority of all animal life on the planet”.

Of course I can’t claim to be smarter than the average, far from it, but I’m smart enough to notice when a cart load of manure is heading for the fan factory. Plus of course it is just possible that I was picking up the vibes of the group of scientists who also think we may well be on a one way journey to extinction.

Starting with Albert Einstein who after the first nuclear weapon was used in war said “Everything has changed, save the way we think.” Unless we change the way we think, humanity remains in serious danger”.

Well here’s a heads up for Ya’all, we have not changed our way of thinking, not one iota, unless, like me, you consider we have changed for the worst. For example most people these days consider a disaster is defined by their inability to get a broadband signal for more than a couple of minutes.

Back in the 1940’s a group came up with the The ‘Doomsday Clock’ as a scientific indicator for how close humanity was to global catastrophe. This was symbolised as a clock face showing the hands as they approached midnight, midnight being of course the end of the world.

In 1947 the hands stood at 7 minutes to midnight. In 1949 when the then USSR exploded their first nuclear device the hands slipped to 3 minutes. The worst it has ever been was in midnight 1953: After much debate, the United States decides to pursue the hydrogen bomb, a weapon far more powerful than any atomic bomb when it stood at a very dangerous 2 mins to midnight.

Since then we have seen our fair share of Good News, Bad News scenarios with the hands of the clock flowing to and fro until in 1991 when with the Cold War officially over and the United States and Russia beginning to make deep cuts to their nuclear arsenals. The world breathed a big sigh of relief and the clock moved back to its all-time best position of 17 mins to midnight.

So what happened since then ? Someone took their eye off the ball that’s fer damn sure….

Did we just get complacent or just stopped thinking we were all going to be blown to hell an go back to… what …where ?
Well I’ve got some bad news for everybody because that Doomsday clock is still ticking and nobody seems to have noticed but it has moved forward again and now stands at 3 minutes to midnight once more.

GASP! HORROR ! How can this have happened ? Why ? Well lets’ see, for starters the well won Super Power agreements of the early 90’s seemed to have grown older without germinating. Nuclear weapons are still high on the shit list with both the USA and Russia embarked upon a modernisation programme. Let’s not forget the un checked climate change problem.

Here is the list, the reason why we are so close to Midnight on the clock, this is not my list but one from the “Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board”.

Leaders must dramatically reduce proposed spending on nuclear-weapons-modernization programs.
• They must reenergize the disarmament process, with a focus on results.
• They must engage with North Korea to reduce nuclear risks.
• They must begin to deal with the problem of commercial nuclear waste, in particular by agreeing on workable international storage sites.
• They must follow up on the Paris accord with actions that sharply reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
• They must create institutions specifically designed to explore and address potentially catastrophic misuse of new technologies.

Call me a cockeyed pessimist or just a hard-nosed realist, whatever, but can anyone actually see anything on that list that is going to achieve worldwide agreement ?

Perhaps those who say “What the Hell” are right, who cares we’ll be dead before it happens. Perhaps I should be one of them after all I have no children or grandchildren to worry about… But surely someone should stick up for every other animal species in the world who don’t have a vote but will suffer the same fate as us.

Earlier on I mentioned the Industrial Revolution, a time when mankind really started to believe he was smarter than nature. Back the theory of evolution was just that a theory. Now with our enhanced medicines, our understanding of genetics and DNA we play God as we strive towards living forever while forgetting all those original laws of evolution and natural selection.

I can only hope enough of our disastrous history will survive so that the life form that follows us can learn and hopefully be a lot wiser than we are. Like all other species that share our planet, learn to live in harmony with nature and not try to be its master.

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