The Doomsday Clock is 90 Seconds to Midnight, and I’m Not Sure Whether to Panic or Not 


By Toby Leigh Leffew 

The Doomsday Clock, as of 2023, is set to “90 seconds to midnight”.  

The Doomsday Clock, created by The Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences, serves to visualize how close humanity is to wiping itself out via its own technology. The Doomsday Clock was initially created to track how close humanity was to nuclear annihilation, but since 2007, climate change has also been factored into the clock. The Doomsday Clock started in 1947, and the minute hand has since been moved 25 times. The closer the minute hand is to midnight, the closer humanity is to wiping itself out. 

So what? A bunch of scientists got together, looked at data, and decided we’re this close to wiping ourselves out. We’ve been saying this for years. 

I’m going to be honest, I don’t know whether it’s time to panic or not.  

On one hand, the world will end. That’s just inevitable, all things must come to an end. It could happen in a billion years, it could happen tomorrow. Since the beginning of humanity, we’ve been saying the end is nigh. What makes it different this time? 

On the other hand, is being numb to the fact that it would be very easy for humanity to be wiped out good? I fear that we’re so used to the end being nigh, that we’ve become desensitized to the weight of those words.  

It’s like humanity is all standing on train tracks, and we can’t get off of them. We know that the train is going to hit us eventually, and every now and again, someone will shout “The train is coming, right now!” However, the train doesn’t come. Some people say the train isn’t coming, that we should automatically dismiss anyone who says otherwise. But when the train comes, will we have done nothing to get off the tracks? That’s kind of the point we’re at right now. 

I don’t know what it’d take to “save” the world. I don’t know if we can even save it, or if anything humanity did now could turn the minute hand back farther than it has ever been. I don’t even know if it’s time to be scared yet.