August 21, 2017
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The Doomsday Clock Just Got Closer To Midnight

By Kate Ryan


In The New York Times op-ed published on Thursday, two high-ranking members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists explained why they advanced the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight—the closest it has been since 1953. The reason the clock now sits two-and-a-half minutes to midnight has everything to do with—you guessed it—Donald Trump. “Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person,” Lawrence M. Krauss and David Titley write, “But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.”

To be clear, the Doomsday Clock isn’t a tongue-in-cheek attention grabber, and it predates social media. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the clock 70 years ago as a way to educate people—in the simplest, most accessible terms—about nuclear weapons’ immediate threat to global security. In the past year, our safety as a species has been threatened by an international failure to adequately address the threat of climate change and nuclear weapons, Krauss and Titley write. Trump has further exacerbated these threats by actively denying global warming, censoring scientists, and handling delicate foreign policy matters with reckless abandon. It’s very possible his tweet about strengthening and expanding America’s nuclear arsenal will be remembered as the catalyst for a second Cold War.

Other factors that lead to the advancement of the Doomsday Clock include North Korea’s expanding nuclear program, America’s fractured relationship with Russia, and unresolved issues surrounding the Iran nuclear deal. And while the Paris Climate Agreement signaled that a united international effort to combat global warming is on its way, very few concrete steps have been taken to curtail rising carbon dioxide levels. Wading through the first few days of Trump’s presidency, it has become abundantly clear he has no intention of alleviating these global crises. In actuality, he will likely make them far worse.

Amid the quite literal doom and gloom, we have to remember that Trump cannot single-handedly destroy the planet unless we allow it. In a glimmer of hope, new tools have emerged to help put power back in the hands of the masses. For instance, the recently launched website, 5 Calls, makes it easier to contact your representatives on a daily basis and demand they fight Trump’s dangerous agenda. GovTrack and Countable help users keep track of legislation moving through Congress. And if you’re nervous about getting on the phone with your representatives, follow this guide for working through your anxiety. Because if the first days of Trump’s presidency have proven anything, it’s that we need to act today if we’re going to halt the rise of fascism.


-Originally appeared at GOOD.is