This is ‘Not Doomed Yet,’ The Atlantic’s weekly newsletter about global warming. It lives here in the science section; you can also get it in your inbox:
Last week, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists adjusted the Doomsday Clock for the year. Or, rather, they didn’t adjust it: They kept the clock at three minutes to midnight, where they set it in 2015. Only three times before in history has the clock been set as close or closer to oblivion.
Last week, as well, Concepcion “Connie” Picciotto died. Picciotto kept the 24-hour peace vigil at the White House, from a tent laden with posters and photos of destruction and suffering that became iconic. Her office spanned nearly 35 years, beginning in 1981 during the Reagan administration, and only ending last summer. I appreciated Washington City Paper’s coverage: They talked to other peace activists in the city, who captured both the monumental quality of her protest and her personal peculiarity:
Once she had become focused on this political cause of preventing nuclear war and abolishing nuclear weapons, she was able to better [manage] whatever her personal problems were. And live a life that was purposeful instead of a life that was just focused on her problems. This larger cause… kept her going and dealing with people.
Picciotto was an elderly Spanish immigrant; the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists includes multiple Nobel winners and some twice-accomplished professionals, such as the U.S. Navy rear admiral who also specializes in Arctic climate science. But here are two different approaches—two different protests—to the same vast, inconceivable problem.