Can’t lie: There were a whole lot of us out there who truly weren’t sure whether or not we were going to get out of 2020 with our lives intact. It seemed as though the bad news just continued to crescendo, all popping off on top of a sea of pandemic stress that could very well invent its own disorders down the line.
And then, not even a week in 2021, the unthinkable happens: The US Capitol is stormed for the first time since 1814…and by Americans.
Keeping a close eye on all this mayhem was the team running the morbidly famous Doomsday Clock, which professes to tell us each year how close we are to the end of humanity. Their decision this time around was a bit controversial in its blandness.
This year’s update to the Doomsday Clock, an annual assessment of how close humanity may be to destroying itself, saw the ominous barometer go unchanged for 2021, leaving civilization at a worrisome 100 seconds to midnight. Developed by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists back in 1947, the measurement is revised each January with an overview of how the planet is handling the challenges facing it and what can be done to ensure that we are not wiped out by our own hand. And, as one might imagine, the coronavirus was a key factor in this year’s assessment.
In a press release announcing their 2021 update, the organization declared that the mishandling of the pandemic constitutes “a ‘wake-up call’ that governments, institutions, and a misled public remain unprepared to handle the even greater threats posed by nuclear war and climate change.” Additionally, they noted that 2020 saw no significant progress towards tackling those two looming issues. These three elements taken together led the organization to keep the Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight, which remains the closest to the theoretical annihilation of humanity that the measurement has ever reached.
So that’s some good news…I guess?
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