Following the August 6th and 9th 1945 atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki scientists who designed the weapons of mere kiloton capacity quickly initiated The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BOAS) in 1947. J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the key figures in “advancing” our capacity to destroy cities or countries said, “The next war will be fought with dozens, maybe hundreds of atomic weapons.”
Writers for the BOAS placed a “Doomsday Clock” on the cover of every issue. Midnight is the moment of nuclear conflagration. When the former Soviet Union imploded in 1989, the minute hand stood at 11:40 because one Superpower had bankrupted itself in spending billions on weapons to defend itself from the threat of atomic attack from the USA. We spend $2 billion daily on “defense.”
The January 2007 BOAS issue found the clock at five minutes before midnight. In addition to thousands of city/country destroying weapons, climate change finally became a global threat. In 2004 Pentagon researchers concluded “global warming is a greater threat than terrorism.” The clock was artistically shown as most of Earth darkened except for a small sliver of light between 11:55 and midnight.
Unknown to most of seven billion people January 23, 2015 the BOAS editors moved the hand again. The Doomsday Clock time now is 11:57. “Group executive director Kennette Benedict called both climate change and modernization of nuclear weaponry undeniable threats to humanity’s continued existence.”
The presence of thousands of massive megaton weapons will not allow any elected officials to deny we still live in an age of “Mutual Assured Destruction.” One megaton is a train 300 miles long loaded with TNT.
Denial of climate change by the U.S Senate is decreasing slowly, but there is heated disagreement over who is causing the problem (Dina Capiello, Associated Press, January 22, 2015) Who but humans could release billions of tons of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere by burning fossil fuels? Who but humans could bring about changing of ocean chemistry, raising its acidity over thirty percent within the last century? Carbon dioxide coming into contact with water becomes Carbonic acid (H2CO3).
The psychiatrist and survivor of Nazi concentration camps Victor Frankl said that in times of crisis people do one of three things: “They deny, they despair or they commit themselves to ask critical questions.”
Crisis in Chinese is a couplet of *danger plus*opportunity. Worsening dangers from our weapons and Earth’s convulsions of nature have never been so obvious. Will we ask critical questions about reduction of nuclear weapons and begin weaning ourselves from fossil fuels?
Dr. Helen Caldecott. 78 is an Australian pediatrician who gave up her practice to oppose nuclear proliferation. She said, “We’ve learned how to wipe out the whole of life on Earth. And we seem to be heading in that direction…”