There is a fast growing fanaticism with the concept of the World as we know it meeting its end. There are thousands upon thousands of theories and even more subpar b-movies all voicing an opinion. The way I see it, nothing can truly be out-ruled due to the (presumably) sheer magnitude of the event in question- theoretically, it is beyond human perception. No member of our species has seen the likes and so no member of our species can predict accurately how we’ll all be wiped out, right? Wrong. Scientists can obviously take a guess at it.
10. Asteroid Impact
Certainly a common theory, asteroid impacts have affected humankind in the past- they’re even highly believed to have wiped out the Dinosaurs, but just how likely are they to wipe us all out? Well, in the 15th Century an asteroid impact is recorded to have claimed some 10,000 lives in the Chinese city of Ch’ing-yang and more recently in 1908 a 200-foot wide fragment entered the atmosphere above Tunguska, Siberia causing an explosion around 1,000 times more powerful than the one that floored Hiroshima in 1945. So, fairly likely then.
9. Disease Epidemic
Epidemics have been picking humans off since the dawn of our time on this planet. Though I like to think of organisms and germs as our friends, helping to maintain the balance and all that, sometimes the odds can just tip out of our favour. In the middle ages, the Plague (or ‘Black Death’) wiped out around one quarter of Europe’s population, flu claimed around 20million of us in 1918/19 and AIDS is still killing. Just because we’ve got iPhones doesn’t mean we can’t contract disease both grim and highly contagious.
8. Flood-Basalt Volcanism
Now I may not be a science buff, but this concept is extremely interesting. Basically, it is just a volcanic eruption of such scale that it causes adverse effects on the environment not just nearby, but for hundreds or even thousands of miles in every direction. In the 1700’s a particularly powerful explosion in Iceland caused the direct death of some 9,000 people- as well as most of the nation’s livestock, leading to further death (and lots of it) as a result of starvation. The ash cloud caused by the eruption also caused a 9 degree plunge in the temperature in the US. How many volcanoes are there on Earth?
7. Global Warming
I know, since that South Park episode with Al Gore you can take the concept of Global Warming seriously, right? This is a relatively new theory and as a result can receive some flak owing to the fact that…it isn’t a fact. The Earth is definitely getting hotter though, that is a fact- and supporters of this explanation believe humankind may have something to do with it. By way of industrial pollution and the like, which emit ‘greenhouse gasses’ into the atmosphere –it is believed a hole will eventually form in the planet’s atmosphere leading to a deadly rise in our climate.
6. Collapse of Ecosystem
Think of the Earth as a huge tapestry in which each living organism is a specific piece of a unique pattern which constitutes a larger, more beautiful image. Now imagine taking a pair of scissors and hacking bits of said tapestry out in the name of human convenience. This theory promotes the belief that there is a delicate balance which must be maintained in order for the Earth to carry on as it began. Human interference with this balance (destroying the rainforests, forcing certain species into extinction) is messing all of this up and will eventually lead to the end of days.
5. Global War
We humans have always been partial to a bit of war, that’s no secret. However many feel we have now reached a point in our existence where we are simply just too good at killing each other. These people, moral humans I believe they’re called, feel that if another large scale World War were to kick off, it’d be the end of society as we know it, if not humanity as a whole. If we take into account how the last war of this kind ended, then consider that the US and Russia together possess in excess of 20,000 bombs of this kind, you can kind of see their point.
4. Robot Revolution
Robots are getting gradually smarter; some theorize that the next logical step for development in this field is to create machines with humanlike intelligence and even eventually consciousness. This could apparently go any of two ways, either we co-exist with the robots learning from each other or (if they turn out to be anything like those who created them) they’ll overthrow us and take the planet for themselves. Trippy thought.
3. Alien Invasion
Perhaps the most exciting possibility on my list, humans have been romanticising with such ideas for god knows how long. Interpreted by a never ending list of novelists, playwrights, comic artists and filmmakers over the years, an alien invasion may be just what the world needs to fulfil John Lennon’s vision of all just getting along.
2. Ice Age
Whereas a solar flare (which regrettably, did not make it onto this list) would cause us all to perish in the fire, the opposite would be for the sun to recede from us- plunging the Earth in yet another Ice Age. Scientists believe the Earth has gone through a number of eras like this over the years, the most recent we emerged from around 10,000 years ago. I can hardly bare a few either side of freezing, never mind the kind of temperatures that could fossilise me in an instant. I hope this isn’t how it ends.
1. Mass Insanity
It is currently estimated by the World Health Organisation that some 500 million people in the world suffer from some kind of psychological disorder. Despite this being the age of uttermost comfort and ease for the majority of humankind, depression is at its highest level ever- people seem to be out of tune with their real cause in life, and its making them very unhappy. Some say that by 2020 depression will be the second most common cause of death for our kind, with modern problems having an immense effect on our primitive wiring.