The clock might be ticking, but stop counting down


Azreilla McClearen

Stop counting down and cancel the doomsday clock.

Azriella McClearen, Opinion Guest Writer

In the beginning of the cold war in 1947, a group of Chicago scientists decided the best thing to do with their collective geniusness was to make a clock. Not just a regular old clock, but a Doomsday Clock. It can go forwards, backwards and doesn’t tick by the second. Its purpose is to tell everyone how close the world is to “total annihilation.” Because that’s exactly what the world needs, right? A constant reminder that at any moment mankind could destroy itself.
Keeping track of when we might destroy ourselves is an outdated way of reminding people about the state of the world. All of my life, I have been too aware that the world could end, whether by a super volcano, the rapture or an evil man in a suit who decides to push a big red button. Either because of zombies, war, or climate change, nearly three in every 10 adults in the US believe an apocalyptic disaster will happen in their lifetime, according to, and I can assure you the doomsday clock helped produced this anxiety.
With so much general stress about the world ending already, what is the doomsday clock even good for? How accurate can a clock be about a societal collapse? This is a criticism that the clock has been under recently, especially when The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists started including climate change into the positioning of the clock, which many climate scientists state can not be accurately represented in this manner.
It would be one thing if the clock was causing anyone to fix anything rather than plaguing the minds of everyday people just trying to get through their day-to-day life. But no politician is motivated by a metaphorical clock; none of the problems the clock assesses like the Russian-Ukraine war is going make anyone go “oh wow, the doomsday clock says we are closer to apocalypse? Maybe we should stop.” This reminds me a lot of another countdown called the Climate Clock that was put up in New York and counts down the seconds till climate change is irreversible. This, however, changes none of the actual corporations and big time carbon producers to stop what they have been doing, and only worries the everyday people passing by who can’t stop climate change.
The doomsday clock was made to spread awareness, but it’s time to stop worrying everyone and actually start making the important people think about climate change and nuclear war. We need to stop counting down to our end and actually work to stop it from happening.