The Manhattan Project was one of history’s greatest and shameful events. It opened our understanding of nuclear power, fission, nuclear chain reactions, and nuclear control and redesigned the global energy sector. It was an exalted group effort to end World War II and create a bomb that would devastate a city and only require one shot. However, it was also a project started due to fear of Nazi Germany’s alleged discovery of splitting a Uranium atom. It was kept secret from the public and costed $2B and over 140,000 scientists and personnel. Most importantly, it did what it was suppose to do.
On August 6, 1945, Paul W. Tibbets, dropped “Little Boy” on Hiroshima. 60,000 to 70,000 people were killed or missing, 140,000 were injured, over 100,000 were exposed to deadly radiation, and many more were left homeless after 60,000 of the 90,000 buildings were demolished. Similarly, “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki soon later. Ultimately, the world’s biggest bombs at that time were dropped on two heavily populated civilian cites. Yes, the war quickly ended soon after, and the bombs saved the lives of millions of soldiers, but it was the official start to the nuclear generation.
Scientists from the University of Chicago constructed the Doomsday Clock as a predictor of a nuclear catastrophe. In 1984, the clock was set at 3 minutes to midnight during the Cold War when communication between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was cut, and in 1949, when the Soviet Union tested their first nuclear device. Since then, we have moved away from 12:00, but we are now pulling up again. In 2015, the Doomsday Clock was again set to 11:57, but this time for another reason: climate change.
Read more here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/01/22/doomsday_clock_set_to_11_57_scientists_say_apocalypse_is_getting_closer.html
How could climate change compare to a nuclear war? That is precisely the question the general public would ask. Climate change is topping the list as one of the most dangerous and real threats to the human race, and yet most people don’t even care. There is a general disbelief that climate change would substantially affect us in the near future, and a general belief that we are actually invincible. “History has proven that humans could solve any large issue, so why not do it again? I’m sure some scientists are soon able to come to a breakthrough in clean energy or climate stabilization!” No, we are nowhere close to solving our continued damage towards Earth’s climate. Crop failures, famines, water shortages, regional competition, floods, and other natural disasters are all issues our ancestors in the past had dealt with and overcome. What if a country that has nuclear weapons can’t find the food or water for its people anymore? A failure in one economy will impact your country’s economy as well.
So why don’t we care about climate change? Here are some reasons:
1) Immediate threats need more attention than future threats – as humans, we tend to focus on immediate rewards and punishments; it’s just natural. Why worry about ice caps melting or the sea level rising a few centimeters when you have to pay your phone bill next month? Why take the time to categorize your recyclables from your general trash when your favorite TV show will start in a few minutes?
2) Nature is external – everything inside our house, office, car, etc. belongs there. Everything else is chaotic, confusing, and dangerous. As a generation, we spend most of our time inside infrastructure, staring and interacting at inanimate objects that are guaranteed to be safe and productive. We have distanced ourselves so far from nature that walking in the woods seems like an irregular activity. Why would we care about the trees anyways? If they are not in the range of falling on our roof during a storm, then why worry about them?
3) We are invincible – our only vulnerabilities are guns, knives, and sometimes eviction notices. We would only not be able to afford food or water because our bosses laid us off, but we can probably still survive off of welfare for awhile. Clean water always comes out of the sink, duh. For many of us, all we can remember is having some sort of food or water every meal. We assume that there will always be food and water; we just need a way to get to it. However, what if there is no food or water for people to fight for?
4) Money, money, money – switching to cleaner energy is generally expensive, and with oil prices recently down, many people will justify their own excess use of it. Basically, changing our lifestyle to sustain and use less is either costly or a waste of time for many.
There are many more reasons why we don’t care about the climate, and I say this in general terms. There are people who dedicate their lives to a sustainable lifestyle. Please understand that climate change is a major problem today. Maybe in the short run we will be able to adapt and deal with its effects, but in the long-run, the effects will be too great for humanity to handle. Don’t push climate change aside. Be aware that it is a growing problem. The sooner we all understand that, the sooner we can work to reverse the damage we have already done.