Consider future problems, threats now

A group of scientists recently expressed their fervent concern when they decided to push forward the symbolic hands of their figurative Doomsday Clock closer to midnight, according to a Jan. 17 Associated Press article.This metaphorical clock signifies the ongoing threats of global disaster and calamity in our world. Each tick of this clock dismally shows how the growing dangers are rapidly continuing to make impacts that could possibly of harming humankind and our surroundings to the point of total destruction.

Issues usually spotlighted by these scientists are the consequences of man-made hazards in relation to the Earth’s environment and human civilization. Although other factors such as terrorism and nuclear war possibilities are also terrifyingly important, these scientists are particularly articulating the dangers of weather changes and human threats that could dramatically alter the Earth’s climate and atmosphere in the future.

Two of the most discussed topics influencing the Doomsday Clock are climate changes and global warming that may occur as a result of human influences. The world is changing around us quickly, and the climate and weather even more so. We take advantage of our world’s sources of natural riches for our own use quickly and selfishly and later realize the consequences of doing so, whether for better or for worse.

Though the effects of weather and climate aren’t as immediately noticeable to us as other problems faced, we must realize the possible bleak future is real, and our continued existence and way of life could ultimately cause our downfall. This not only includes the topics of global warming, but also war, terrorism and many other issues, as well. Too often we set aside worries and continue our bad habits that only add to the harm accumulating on this already exhausted planet.

But is it practical to focus on issues that grow worse with time, or to instead pay attention to issues that affect us in the present moment? The current war in Iraq and rumors of nuclear weapons being built or acquired in other countries are the issues of today that are being served on the same universal plate as long-term anxieties of erratic weather changes, pollution and global warming. All are valid fears and concerns that need our attention, but which comes first on our global priority list?

“Terror only kills hundreds or thousands of people,” said Stephen W. Hawking, a distinguished cosmologist and mathematician, in the AP article. “Global warming could kill millions. We should have a war on global warming rather than the war on terror.”

One predicament may be that we, as humans have somewhat of a procrastinating streak, and matters that affect us in the long run aren’t necessarily forgotten but merely shelved until they become more problematic in our daily lives. This isn’t to say that the war in Iraq or other countries building or obtaining nuclear weapons aren’t alarming issues, but we as the dominant species on this planet have certain responsibilities for the well-being and safety of all who occupy this globe. We have to learn to juggle priorities and multitask because all these matters, whether current or long term, certainly won’t disappear unless we are actively and purposefully trying to be responsible, honorable, and above all, honest about our role in Earth’s struggle for stability and peace in a troublesome and taxing age.

Ylona Cupryjak is a sophomore theatre major from Keller.