- Threat of nuclear weapons: “Today, unchecked climate change and a nuclear arms race resulting from modernization of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity,” said Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin, last year. “And world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. “These failures potentially endanger every person on Earth.”
- Global Warfare: The bulletin states that tensions between the United States and Russia are at levels reminiscent of the Cold War.
- Climate Change: Dangerously high levels of global warming, which lead to massive changes in the environment, could be the cause of widespread destruction of humanity and animals. Rising sea levels threat to flood large parts of the world. Even mega cities like London, Shanghai and New York will not be spared. Ecosystems will be adversely affected by continually rising temperatures. People in deciding positions, especially politicians, will have to make strong decisions to prevent a global apocalypse.
- Biological Weapons: Advances in genetics and biology could be turned against humanity. The Bulletin has said, “The wide availability of bioengineering knowledge and tools, along with the ease with which individuals can obtain specific fragments of genetic material (some can be ordered through the mail or over the internet), could allow these capabilities to find their way into the hands of groups bent on violent disruption.”
- Misuse of Modern Technology: It’s hard to guarantee that internet technology will always be used for the good. Scientists fear that by using powerful new technologies, militaries may create new methods of killing populations.
The motley group of scientists that adjusts the ominous hands of the Doomsday Clock was watching the outcome of the much mediatized COP22 Conference on Climate Change in Paris. The closer the clock gets to Midnight, the greater the threat of Doomsday. Sceptics may not lend much credence to this theory, but if you add all the threats, the consequences are more than devastating. The challenge remains to use the great resources of knowledge and scientific advancements for the upliftment of humanity, not its disappearance from the face of the earth. Remember, if powerful creatures like the dinosaurs could become extinct and be relegated to the pages of history, mankind is no exception.
About the author:
Vinita Kinra has been featured among 150 most remarkable Canadians by Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.