Recently, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists decided to move the Doomsday Clock, a symbol of the potential end of humanity, to a mere 100 seconds to midnight, with midnight representing the end of humanity, the closest that it’s ever been before. But is nuclear war the most likely cause of the End of the World? Or is it that there are other issues that must also be dealt with?

Firstly, it cannot be understated how devastating nuclear war could potentially be. There are currently over 15,000 nukes in the world, all of which combined could easily plunge the world into a nuclear winter with effects that would take millennia to undo. Therefore, it is blatant that nuclear war has the capability of utterly wiping out all of humanity, something which can in no way be understated whatsoever. However, is nuclear war that realistic? After all, we have been in numerous situations in history that easily could have resulted in nuclear war and didn’t. Nobody in their right mind would start something like this, even if there is an enormous standoff. Nobody wants nuclear war. Everyone knows what it will result in, and nuclear war is unable to help anyone’s situation. There would be literally no reason for anyone to willingly start a nuclear war.

However, nuclear war is not the only problem faced by modern society. Most people now believe that the largest threat facing us is climate change. Supposedly, in a mere few years the change in the climate and global temperatures partaken in by humans will be completely irreversible. Already, temperatures are reaching an all-time high as sea levels rise, deserts expand, and forest fires wipe out thousands of acres of woodland. As a result, millions have flocked to the streets around the world in order to protest this change in the natural order, including the now very widely recognised Greta Thunberg. It is clear that the majority of the population believe that climate change is humanity’s greatest threat.

Unfortunately, though, there is another issue that could lead to humanity’s downfall that was mostly overlooked until only very recently, this being viruses. For ages there has been an overuse of antibiotics in farms, something which experts have warned will result in a so-called ‘super-virus’ which is almost unstoppable and could easily result in the death of billions. Something similar to this has already been discovered and is currently raging throughout China, the coronavirus, and could well be a major threat to survival. But I personally don’t believe it will be. Scientists are already working on a vaccine and reportedly will be finished within a year or two, implying that this potential threat will likely not last, similar to previous diseases such as influenza, the bubonic plague and cholera. However, despite these claims, there is nonetheless the potential of a different virus doing the job. Although this will probably be the case, there are possibilities that humanity will be able to use advanced technology to prevent any disease from being able to wipe us out.

Overall, though, whilst nuclear war is an extreme threat and viruses may impact billions, I believe that the biggest risk of destruction of humanity is climate change, as it is already underway and quite difficult to reverse. Particularly if countries such as China and the USA continue their stance towards the environment. That is why climate crisis is at the top of the political agenda and the most widespread concern amongst young people, with increasing worldwide activists and demonstrations by groups such as Extinction Rebellion. Let’s hope it makes a difference before it is too late.