Considering what TV, movies, and books are always telling us, the end of the world seems inevitable, right? Whether it’s a zombie apocalypse, alien attack, asteroid hitting us or any of the other ways entertainment has predicted the end of the world, it just seems like it’s a fact that it is going to happen. The only thing us humans can do is pray that this doesn’t happen while we’re alive because that would totally suck. I mean, screw our great-great-great-great grandchildren. They can deal with the end of the world, but we’d all rather be spared from having to live without Grub Hub and Uber.
On that note, there’s a scary amount of ways the world could end while we’re actually alive. The thing that makes these possibilities scary is that, well, they are avoidable. You know, we could be doing stuff right now to keep the world from ending and yet, we’re just going on our merry way, doing the same old things that could end the world.
It also may surprise you to find out that this list is not just about global warming. There are quite a few other possibilities that we contribute to in one way or another.
Sure, there are ways the world could end that have us all doomed. I don’t think we can really do anything if the sun explodes or whatever. These 15 ways the world could end, however, are preventable by us humans. Sure, some things on this list are preventable only by, like, the top genius scientists in the world but hey, they should totally be working on this stuff right now!
12 Nuclear War
We as humans are self-destructive by nature. Look at ol’ Lindsay Lohan. She was America’s Sweetheart, but ended up spending most of her money doing time in rehab, and ruining her public and professional reputation. As a society, we all look at LiLoh as a cautionary tale, thinking we would have all done so much better if we were put in her position. That may be true or we (most likely) would have self-destructed too.
What’s my point here? Humans are self-destructive by nature. The likelihood that we’ll all, one day, be assholes and start throwing nuclear bombs around seems high. Wouldn’t it be ironic if we humans, full of pride and arrogance, ended up destroying everything ourselves? It honestly seems like the most likely way the world would end in our lifetimes, which is unfortunate because it’s totally 100% avoidable. All we have to do is stop being jerks, which would seem easy enough, but history would prove otherwise.
Hopefully, all the humans can just keep their cool for the next couple hundred years and not bomb the s*it out of our Earth.
11 Engineered Disease
Considering the fact when asked about threats to mankind, Stephen Hawking, a super smart dude, answered that nuclear war, global warming, and genetically engineered diseases were major threats, I'd say we should all take that pretty seriously.
An engineered disease is a disease that has been genetically modified in order to make it into a weapon of sorts. That sounds delightful, right? We're all going to die because we cannot stop fighting and now we're giving each other diseases.
Considering the inner city structure of life today, a disease has the possibility of being spread very quickly in our societies. Think about all the people you talk to every day at work, at the gym, at the coffee shop, at the grocery store. Basically, we're screwed, especially if it is airborne.
The easiest way to stop this would simply be to not use such methods in warfare.
If the way we handled the Ebola outbreak in 2014 is any indication, we are not prepared for a widespread pandemic to hit us.
Being sick is no joke and yet, it seems that we don’t always take the precautions that living in our advanced society offers. We should all receive every vaccine and flu shot available, take our vitamins, use condoms and basically do whatever it is that the doctors are telling us we should do to stay healthy.
Unfortunately, that is not always all that is needed. If a widespread airborne virus was to hit us, we’d be severely underprepared. Sure, the Ebola outbreak hit a part of the world that was not armed with the resources to fight a widespread disease, but in all honestly, how many parts of the world are equipped to fight an outbreak on a large scale?
Our city structures and way of living are no help. People living in Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, and London are screwed. Let’s all hope that there’s a scientist working in a lab somewhere to prevent The Black Death from happening again – you know, when a cool 75 million people just f-ing died.
9 Contaminated Air
Listen, you might believe in global warming or you might not. That’s none of my business, even though you should totally believe in global warming. That being said, our own air could be our downfall. How crazy is that? The thing you breathe in every second of every day could be the thing that kills all of us.
Already in New Delhi, India, air pollution is one of the leading causes of death. In China, the smog is so bad that they have to wear face masks because they’re told not to breathe in the unfiltered air.
If people are cutting back on smoking for the sake of their lungs, we should all cut back on the pollution for our lungs too, right? You’d think so.
One way to save yourself and the Earth from dying of contaminated air is to cut down on your carbon footprint, which I’m sure someone has told you all about at some point. Blah, blah, blah, carpool, use public transportation and all that stuff. Well, that’s all true. Also, moving to a less densely populated area would help perhaps not the Earth, but you. Cities like Beijing, Mexico City, and New Delhi are overpopulated and over-polluted as a result. Moving to the middle of nowhere wouldn’t necessarily save the Earth from air contamination but it could save you from dying of air contamination so soon.
Okay, so there’s no real scientific theory about the world ending because we all just get too fat but it seems to be slowly heading that way. America is only the 9th most overweight country in the world with 74% of the population overweight. Yes, seriously, 74% of Americans are overweight or obese. The country of Nauru comes in at #1 with 95% of its population being overweight. It’s that kind of crazy. So, only 5% of the people living in Nauru aren’t overweight.
There are a number of things making us fat, one of which is our move to a more sedentary lifestyle. We are always, always sitting. I'm sitting right now writing this article. You're probably sitting down as you read it. Just a couple of decades ago, guys were hustling away in factories and women were doing some hardcore labor when it came to housework. Now, everything is electronic and easy. On top of that, we consume processed food by the fistful and have media hitting us over the head with commercials, making us hungry all the time.
So what if we’re all fat? Well, the scary static is that this generation of children has a high percentage of kids dying before their parents. Basically, we’re all becoming fat and dying. Couple that with the fact that this generation of overweight children will grow up to be a generation of obese people who cannot perform everyday tasks like walking up a flight of stairs and that’s scary.
This possible way of the world ending is very easily solved: Be healthy.
7 Asteroid Hitting Us
This, like the possibility of a solar flare, seems like one of those world-ending situations in which we are flat out dead. Due to Hollywood, though, it seems that we may be able to out-think an asteroid heading right for us.
In Armageddon, Hollywood proposed the idea of just blowing up anything heading towards Earth, which actually seems like what most of us humans would do. It’s heading here? Let’s bomb it instead! Doing this, though, would actually just create a bunch of smaller asteroids coming to Earth and possibly create just as much destruction.
In other Hollywood movie theories, we could create something to pull the asteroid away from Earth’s gravitational pull. Apparently, that theory is actually plausible, as the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft actually reached a comet in 2014. The bad news is that Rosetta took a decade to get to the comet. Clearly, the smart space guys need to step up their research in this area if they are going to save us from any and all asteroids.
The idea of the world ending because there are too many damn humans may seem odd, but it’s a possibility. It’s not really the amount of humans per se, but rather the amount of resources needed for all of these humans. Think of the food, water, and even air that all of us humans need to consume in order to live. It’s a s*it ton and the poor ol’ Earth cannot keep up. Also, in the order to feed, clothe and house all of these damn humans, we’re polluting the world and adding to the whole global warming thing.
The solution is easy. Just wear a condom, right? Stop having kids. If every couple only had one child, we’d cut the population in half – but, then, we’d have a population of a bunch of people who were an only child and that’s a whole other issue.
On the bright side, fewer children also means fewer soccer practices you have to drive around to which will cut back on your carbon footprint. Win-win! Hooray!
5 Mass Insanity
If you don’t know anyone at all who is prescribed medication for a hormonal disorder, personality disorder or some kind of mental illness, you're in the minority. It seems that everyone now is medicated. That could leave one wondering if we’re all getting crazy or all just being overly medicated. Sure, it’s probably the latter but mass insanity is believed to have happened before, so it surely could happen again.
The infamous Salem Witch Trials, which resulted in the execution of 20 people, are now believed to be the result of mass insanity. One explanation is that the bread they ate was infected with a fungus called Claviceps Purpurea, which is the same substance that LSD comes from. So, yeah, the people of Salem ate this bread, started tripping balls and then started burning “witches” at the stake. While that seems a little out there, the fact that a whole town believed in witches and burned these suspected witches is a little out there too. I’d personally rather believed that these people were tripping.
While eating contaminated bread and tripping out isn’t really avoidable if you don’t know about the bread, going crazy can be. We should, you know, stay not insane and everything should be good.
I, maybe, understand why scientists want to create AI. It’s fascinating to them. To me, it’s pretty horrifying. Just recently, Ex Machina and Age of Ultron were both about computers taking over - and, it’s not that far-fetched. Google already knows what I’m going to search for after just typing three letters. Microsoft Word has better grammar than I do. Maps can give me directions to any place in the world. It's a luxury but our modern day dependence on these machines could be our ultimate downfall. It seems poetic in a way. We progress to a point where our own progress destroys us.
Could an iPhone really take over the world? No. An army of super AI, however, probably could. They are smarter than us and unlike us, they don’t rely on all those pesky organs and stuff to stay alive. Listen, Stephen Hawking, who is a goddamn genius, has even spoken out about the potential of creating an AI machine that takes over the world. If he’s afraid of a robot taking over then so am I.
How can we avoid this? Oh, easily. Just stop trying to make AI. Bam, done.
4 Ecosystem Collapse
We keep hearing about all these endangered species and the condition of rain forests, but what does it all really mean? Well, if you don't believe in global warming, this is a result of it. Because the ecosystem is so interconnected, the destruction of a place or species is something that will have a chain reaction.
For example, bees have been dying at an alarming rate - about 30% each year. The reason for the bees dying is twofold. The first issue lies in chemicals that farmers use, which are apparently killing the bees. The second issue may be the rising temperature, which could be from, you guessed it, global warming.
While bees dying off may not seem like a big deal, as it sucks when they sting you, it actually is. Since they are the biggest pollinators of many fruits and nuts, the death of bees as a whole would have many deep consequences in the food industry.
This is just a teeny tiny example so you can imagine how, on a larger scale, this could be a disaster.
3 Zombie Apocalypse
Roll your eyes all you want. You have no idea how the world will end. I have no idea when the world will end. So, why is it so far fetched that it could end in a zombie apocalypse? It totally could, right?
Alright, so on the list of things that could happen and end the world, we’ll put the probability of this one as pretty low. That being said, if this ever happened, it would probably be one of the worst ways the world could end and it would especially suck to be one of those lifers sticking it out and battling against the growing zombie army.
To avoid this, we could definitely start ramping up ways to defend ourselves against this possibly. For starters, America spends, like, a trillion dollars a year on defense. Couldn’t we section off maybe a cool million bucks to one or two super smart doctors, who can start trying to plan zombie recon? Let’s just get one or two doctors to find out if the cure presented in World War Z has any truth to it.
On top of that, I’m not saying that we all get crazy bunkers like John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane but having an emergency kit would help. This would be the same style kit that government officials are always telling people to have for earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and all that good stuff. You’d basically want water, candles, flashlights, a first aid kit, blankets, a radio and anything else you may need to survive. On top of that, you could get a long sword like the chick on The Walking Dead. You’d be more prepared than most for the zombie apocalypse.
Of course, the probability of this happening is super slim but, again, who knows?
2 Global Dimming
If you're afraid of the dark, this could be the most ultimately terrifying situation because global dimming is exactly what it sounds like. Our Earth would just get darker.
Basically, our air is being polluted due to our use of fossil fuels, which you likely already know. You may not know, though, that this pollution happens to absorb solar energy and reflect it back into space, making it more difficult for the sunlight to get down to us.
The earth being dimmer would have dramatic effects on our entire ecosystem. If plants use sunlight as energy, we would see our wildlife and plants dying off, which would then impact those who eat said plants and so on and so forth.
We've already seen some dimming as a result of pollution. Since 1950, the sunlight reaching the USA has decreased by 10%, in parts of Europe by 16% and freaking 30% in Russia. 30% in Russia! That's terrifying.
Of course, the whole world dimming thing would be okay for, like, a day when you want to binge-watching something on Netflix, but ultimately it could be what destroys the world as a result of the damage we have done to the Earth.
1 Contaminated Water
As a result of the fact that us humans are basically slobs, our Earth continues to become more and more polluted. This is not good news for our land, air and most certainly not good news for our water.
Being that we, uh, need water to live, the threat of polluted waters is a threat to our lives. At this point, there are already 1 billion people in the world who do not have access to clean water. Of course, many of us who are reading this on our smartphones or laptops have the ability to simply turn on a faucet and we blessed with clean drinking water.
While an easy solution would be to stop dumping pollution into our bodies of water, another solution is to create technological advances that could clean the already polluted waters. Yeah, so just appreciate your bottle of Smart Water today.
Ah, another environmental issue. There certainly is a pattern here. As opposed to the threat of contaminated water, contaminated air or global dimming, there is also the threat that we could simply use everything up. The world, unfortunately, is not an ever-expanded being. It is just one planet from which we are taking and taking and taking. There is the possibility that we'll just use everything up.
There is actually a thing called Ecological Debt Day, which marks the day of the year in which we've used up that year's resources. Please, do not ask me how those smart scientists came up with this. Basically, it is the day that marks when we've used up what can be replenished annually, so for the rest of the year we're borrowing resources from the future. During the 70s, it fell on a day in December, the 80s a day in November and this year, it fell on a day in freakin' August. Yeah, so on August 8th of 2016, we used up all of our resources for the year. Like, right now while you're reading this, we're already using 2017's resources.
This is preventable by the same old adage of reducing that carbon footprint, baby.
And the most likely thing that will end us all: a combination of everything because it's all interconnected.
The sheer amount of people and overpopulation leads to many of the global warming issues, like using up all of our resources and contamination of the air and water caused by pollution. The global dimming could possibly cause an ecosystem collapse. A pandemic may be incurable if our ecosystem is ruined. AI doesn't necessarily have to live with these conditions so global warming could provide a perfect situation for an AI revolution. Oh, and then the zombies come! It is all interconnected. One issue incites another, which incites another, which incites another.
Are we doomed? Well, we will all eventually die and mankind is most likely doomed in the long run. The point is that we don't have to be doomed right now. Our children and even our grandchildren don't have to be doomed if we take the right precautions now. Although, as for the zombie apocalypse, we're all pretty screwed, so let's just really hope that one doesn't become true.
Sources: Infoplease.com, Mirror.co.uk, Discovermagazine.com, Ibtimes.com, Urbanful.org, Conserve-energy-future.com, Huffingtonpost.com
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