Manhattan Project scientists founded the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1945 because they “could not remain aloof from the consequences of their work.” The Doomsday Clock first appeared on the cover of the magazine in 1947, and the hands were set then at 7 minutes to midnight. The hands have since been set as close as 2 minutes to midnight in 1953, after both the Soviet Union and the U.S. tested H-bombs. The farthest away from doom they’ve been – 17 minutes – was in 1991, when the end of the Cold War led Russia and the U.S. to make deep cuts in their nuclear arsenals and sign the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
This year the hands have moved as close to midnight as they have been since 1953. The Bulletin explained the decision in January: “In 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come to grips with humanity’s most pressing threats: nuclear weapons and climate change. Making matters worse, the United States now has a president who has promised to impede progress on both of those fronts. Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.”
The Snake River Alliance has always known that our words – and actions – matter, too. The Bulletin’s guidance to its readers on what to do next echoes our convictions. 1. Learn about the problem. 2. Share what you’ve learned with others. 3. Tell your government representatives what to do.