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The Doomsday Clock Is Now Just Two Minutes to Midnight
The clock is now two minutes to midnight based on the predictions of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a non-profit organization that informs the public about threats to its survival due to nuclear threats, emerging technologies and climate change.
"This is the closest the Clock has ever been to Doomsday, and as close as it was in 1953, at the height of the Cold War," the group said.
Last year, the Clock ticked forward an ominous two and a half minutes to midnight mostly thanks to President Donald Trump. The nuclear danger of a Trump presidency, combined with his and his administration's climate denialism, heighten the risk of a global catastrophe, the group warned then.
As for this year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists explained that the clock moved forward another 30 seconds because "in 2017, world leaders failed to respond effectively to the looming threats of nuclear war and climate change, making the world security situation more dangerous than it was a year ago—and as dangerous as it has been since World War II."
"The greatest risks last year arose in the nuclear realm. North Korea's nuclear weapons program appeared to make remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks for itself, other countries in the region, and the United States," the group continued. "Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions on both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation."
"On the climate change front, the danger may seem less immediate, but avoiding catastrophic temperature increases in the long run require urgent attention now. The nations of the world will have to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions to keep climate risks manageable, and so far, the global response has fallen far short of meeting this challenge," the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said.
Rachel Bronson, president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, called on immediate global action to rewind the clock.
"It is urgent that, collectively, we put in the work necessary to produce a 2019 Clock statement that rewinds the Doomsday Clock," Bronson said. "Get engaged, get involved, and help create that future. The time is now."
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Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.
The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.
"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."
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We've known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.
By Wenonah Hauter
Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint's water supply over from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint's children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease killed more than a dozen residents.
Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.