With the recent risks of nuclear war and climate change, the Doomsday Clock has been set to 100 seconds until midnight.
After the creation of the first atomic weapons, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock to imagine when ‘midnight’ might happen. The term ‘midnight’ is used to determine how far the world is as a whole until an inevitable doomsday or apocalypse. That may seem scary, but time is relative when it comes to the clock. Every January, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists get together and determine as a group whether or not society has worsened or improved; meaning the time between now and midnight can either shorten or grow longer. They take in consideration politics, climate, energy, weapons, nuclear threats and more when figuring out what time to set the clock at.
The countdown to zero started back in 1947 after the catastrophic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The clock was then set at seven minutes until midnight and continued to drop and rise in the following years.
In 1990 the time until midnight was ten minutes due to the many deaths and attacks occurring in the Middle East, with the IRA (Irish Republican Army) at the time, and the belief that everyone still had a ‘Cold War mindset’. But then in 1991 it went back up to 17 minutes because it was felt that the world had entered a ‘new era’. But of course as time progresses, the minutes have dropped to seconds and the number of threats have risen within the last decade.
With the election coming up at the end of the year and other potential world events, we can only hope the time between now and midnight will grow further and further from zero.