Doomsday Clock warns us about the future

By Tyler Panlilio , Columnist

It is two and a half minutes to midnight.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock’s minute hand up another 30 seconds last Thursday.

The Doomsday Clock, a metaphor signifying how close humanity is to obliterating itself, is at its closest point to midnight since 1984 — when U.S. and Soviet relations were the rockiest in decades.

The Clock is a reflection of world concerns that have gained traction over the past few years, most notably climate change and threats of nuclear weaponry.

While the Bulletin’s official statement argues that the outlook on climate change seems less dark — stating that global carbon dioxide emissions remained stagnant in 2016 — humanity still has much to do in securing a habitable planet for future generations.

Nuclear weapons, however, are a different story. In 2016, North Korea remained persistent in testing its capabilities for nuclear weaponry, and is expected to continue throughout 2017. The U.S. and Russia, who collectively possess 93 percent of the world’s nuclear arms, remain at a disagreement on a variety of fronts. In other words, tensions are high.

And it seems that Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration only helps to increase that tension.

Given all that has happened, there’s little doubt that millennials remain the most active about these recent events. Protests have sprouted across the country in the wake of Trump’s inauguration and have not died down since.

The under-30 cohort is arguably the most progressive demographic in American history. We are far more open to liberal ideals because, well, we’re young. But we’re also the most educated generation in history in regard to college graduates and total degrees. So if anyone’s going to have a say in this, it’s us. Students here at the University gathered around the Alma Mater Monday to voice their opinions on Trump’s recent immigration ban.

But it’s not just us, and it never was entirely us to begin with. Around the world, celebrities, politicians and civilians alike are trying to make sense of the immigration ban.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted in response to Trump’s order on Saturday.

“To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”

Asghar Farhadi, Iranian director of “The Salesman,” said Sunday that he will not attend the Oscars, even if he was exempted from Trump’s ban. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language movie.

In the United Kingdom, more than one million people have signed a petition to prevent Trump from making a state visit to the Queen, less than 24 hours after its creation.

These last two weeks have proved to be a period of grave uncertainty, not only for the U.S., but also for virtually every country with U.S. ties. When a powerful figure sparks global chaos less than a month into his presidency, it’s difficult to argue that things are going smoothly in the White House.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that nuclear annihilation is on the horizon; rather, that the future remains uncertain, at least in terms of global collectiveness. The world wasn’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye before Trump, and never really was in the first place.

And right now, things seem just a little grave.

In a closing statement, the Bulletin urged for change before it’s too late.
“In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.”

Tyler is a freshman in Media. 

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