The Doomsday Clock might sound like something straight out of the latest sci-fi movie, but it’s actually a real thing. This symbolic clock is closer to midnight (which represents doomsday) than it’s ever been, because of climate, nuclear, and cyber warfare threats. Instead of ignoring these concerns, it’s time we took a look at what’s making the clock tick…and how we can turn back time. And if all this apocalypse talk gets you wound up, don’t worry…you can relax with your favorite online slots at All Slots.
What’s the Doomsday Clock?
The Doomsday Clock isn’t exactly a clock. It’s a symbol created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, used to track threats to the human race caused by science and technology getting out of hand. Midnight symbolizes global catastrophe, and the clock gets reset in January every year based on the current state of the world. The scientists consider factors like nuclear risks, climate change, and cyber threats to set the time.
The clock was made in 1947 and set at seven minutes to midnight. That was based mainly on concerns about nuclear weapons, and the clock would move closer to midnight over the next few years because of the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. Since then, the “time” has fluctuated a lot, mostly based on countries’ cooperation about nuclear weapons. Wars, weapons testing, and treaties all affect the clock.
According to the Doomsday Clock, the furthest we’ve been from doomsday since the tool began was in 1991, when the US and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, setting the clock back to 17 minutes from midnight. But as other countries tested weapons and nuclear disarmament made little progress, we’ve moved back toward midnight, and are now closer than ever.
Besides nuclear concerns, the clock has also recently considered climate change concerns, which was one of the big factors in setting the clock this year.
What are some of the biggest apocalypse scenarios?
Pop culture has imagined countless ways that the world could end, but scientists aren’t warning of zombies, alien invasions, or malicious robots any time soon. But zombies might be easier to beat than the real threats caused by climate change and war. Here are some of the most plausible doomsday scenarios, according to scientists.
- Climate change: There’s a reason why the Doomsday Clock puts so much emphasis on climate change. We’ve already seen how climate change has increased the number of extreme weather events, including wildfires, flooding, and drought. These disasters don’t just affect the planet directly, though. The lasting effects of climate-caused disasters can change the ways plants grow, where animals live, and could eventually even make Earth inhospitable to humans.
- An asteroid: While scientists aren’t really concerned about aliens coming from space to destroy us all, some are concerned about an asteroid coming from space. Many theories suggest that this was what wiped out the dinosaurs millions of years ago. The impact of an asteroid not only destroys large areas of land, but could trigger other disasters, like tsunamis, earthquakes, or even dust clouds that would block out the sun.
- Disease: The Bubonic plague killed anywhere from a third to a half of Europe’s population in the Middle Ages. If a similar outbreak occurred today, it could be even more widespread due to international travel. Even though our medical knowledge is way better than it was in the past, pandemics are still a real threat. An antibiotic-resistant illness or a highly contagious virus, could easily spread around the world and wreak havoc. There’s even a threat a pandemic due to engineered diseases, created for biological warfare or an experiment gone wrong.
- Nuclear apocalypse: Sometimes called the nuclear holocaust, this scenario is pretty popular as an end times scenario. Nuclear war would not only destroy cities, but could have devastating after-effects like nuclear winter, radiation sickness, and firestorms. Plus, it could easily destabilize the economy and society. With around 15,000 nuclear weapons around the world, there are enough weapons to destroy the Earth several times. When the United States dropped two nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they killed hundreds of thousands of people and caused ongoing effects like increased cancer risks and birth defects.
- Overpopulation: The Earth only has resources to support a certain amount of life, and with the human population growing exponentially, we’re nearing the limit. There are almost 8 billion people alive now, and most scientists think the maximum is 9 to 10 billion. Overpopulation could cause food and water shortages as well as issues related to overcrowding, like increased disease and resource depletion. Plus, each individual human is consuming more than ever, increasing the amount of strain on the planet.
- All of the above: Most scientists believe that the apocalypse will mostly likely be the result of a many factors combined. Overpopulation contributes to climate change and disease risks, or nuclear and asteroid events could cause wars and resource shortages. The apocalypse wouldn’t be just a single event, but a slow decline in the habitability of Earth, either dramatically reducing the population or wiping it out entirely.
How can we prevent it?
The best way to survive the apocalypse is to keep it from happening in the first place. While some of the scenarios are out of our control (like an asteroid), many human actions contribute to the likelihood of doomsday scenarios.
Scientists’ and conservationists’ pleas for the world to focus on reversing climate change have been largely ignored or dismissed. In order to reverse the damage we’ve already done, there would have to be some drastic changes. Most suggestions are related to rethinking energy sources, by using green or clean energy to reduce emissions and decrease the effects of harmful practices like fracking.
While personal changes, like reducing household waste, driving an eco-friendly vehicle, or changing consumption patterns can make a big difference, we’re unlikely to reverse the devastating effects of climate change without a worldwide effort that starts at the top. Large corporations and countries’ infrastructures are responsible for the majority of emissions and waste, so large-scale changes to the way our world operates would be the surest way to combat climate change. Without widespread policy changes, this is unlikely to occur.
Average citizens don’t have much say over nuclear weapons, either. The Doomsday Clock has always warned of the dangers of nuclear arms proliferation and escalating tensions between world powers armed with dangerous weapons. We can only avoid nuclear disaster if world leaders work together to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons, setting the Doomsday Clock back.
How would you survive?
You might not be a “prepper” but most of us have thought about what we’d do in the Apocalypse. Would you be ready to fight off zombies? Grow your own food? Flee the planet? If it comes down to every man for himself, how long would you last? You could boost your odds of surviving a disaster or waiting out the immediate after-effects by making sure all your basic needs are accounted for.
- Shelter: The first thing you’ll need is some place to sleep. Depending on the disaster, your home might not be the best place to stay. If there’s a shortage of resources or a risk of contagious disease, then staying in the city could affect your chances of survival. You’d also have to make sure that your shelter could withstand the elements, even without modern technology. You couldn’t necessarily count on having fuel, so you’d keep warm by a fire or with good insulation. In some disasters, being underground or well shielded from harmful elements or weather would be essential.
- Food: While you might not be enjoying three-course meals during the apocalypse, you’d have to make sure that you had something to eat. This could mean relying on a stockpile of food or having your own means of producing food. Having a stockpile is a temporary solution, so in any long-term doomsday situation you’d need to figure out how to provide for yourself. Knowing how to grow, gather, or hunt food would be an essential skill for survival. Check out tips from The Greenhouse People here.
- Water: You won’t survive long without water. Just like food, stockpiling is an option, but it would be limited. In a doomsday scenario, you’d need to be able to collect and purify water, and most likely recycle any water that you use. Depending on the scenario, you might also be dealing with contaminated water sources, which would require extra effort to make sure the water was safe to drink. However, purification methods like UV light, purification tablets, and other filters would help make sure you had a safe source of drinking water.
- Medicine: If society collapses, we’d lose access to most of our resources, including medical care. Having supplies on hand for basic first aid, and knowing how to use them, is always a valuable skill, whether it’s the apocalypse or not. You never know when it’ll save you (or someone else) to have medical essentials like anti-venom, an epi-pen, and basic medications, or having the skills to dress a wound or set a broken bone. Or, you could always get formal training and make yourself an asset in the end-times—everyone wants a doctor in their bunker.
- Protection: In a doomsday situation, you’re likely to have to protect yourself from nature…and from other people. Having a secure place to live and the means to fight off wildlife or prevent intruders could protect you and your resources.
- Entertainment: Even though you’d spend most of your time fighting to survive, there’s no doubt that you’d need something to entertain you through the end times. If there’s no internet or electricity, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your favorite games online…but a deck of cards or board games would be a great way to help pass the time. Maybe you could even win some supplies on a game of poker…
Surviving as the last man on Earth would be a tough task. Most of us are used to relying on other people and resources in order to survive. To survive an apocalypse scenario, it would be helpful to have a small group of people with the necessary knowledge and tools to keep your mini-society afloat after a disaster. Just make sure anyone you invite wouldn’t get too annoying on those long days and nights in the fallout shelter!
It may seem like a sci-fi solution, but it’s also possible that one answer to global disaster would be to flee the planet. With space travel becoming more and more practical, it’s possible that we could find a location somewhere out in space that could support life. Of course, this wouldn’t be a solution for the masses—getting everyone off the planet and settled in somewhere else would be a huge feat. It would probably be better to dedicate all that effort to fending off the apocalypse in the first place.
Once you start thinking about all the possible scenarios, and see the Doomsday Clock tick closer to midnight, it will hopefully become clearer that we have to do something to save the future of humanity. Whether the apocalypse comes in our lifetimes or generations down the road, there’s no time to deny that humans are having a devastating effect on the planet. The good news is, we still have time to reverse these effects and restore the Earth to better health…and set the Doomsday Clock back in time.
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