R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia. They once released a song back in 1987 titled ‘It’s The End Of The World.’ Apparently, the world hasn’t ended yet. You wouldn’t be reading this blog, otherwise. The fact is that no one knows when the world is going to end, or how. It could be the end of the human race or even the destruction of the Earth.
We can see signs, though. They show us how the world is nearing its end. From our politicians to environmentalists to that cool conspiracy website you accidentally came across, there are more than a few convincing arguments made concerning how our world could end in the next hundred years.
What signs are we talking, exactly?
There are a lot of signs, ranging from a variety of sources. They could be large-scale things such as the environment, a pandemic, or warfare, and they could be a thing on a much smaller scale, such as individual personal problems.
Starting with the small-scale
For some, their world revolves around a loved one or a career. And if faced with distrust, their ‘world’ collapses. In a rational sense, worlds end every day.
But unfortunately, media and the society have only given greater importance to the physical factors regarding the ending of the world, i.e., natural disasters, global warming, etc.
Some people undergo massive mental traumas on a daily basis. Some are depressed. The world has already ended for a huge amount of individuals.
What about the large-scale signs?
There are quite many public signs indicating the end of the world. Natural disasters, poorly run institutions, governments, global warming, the economy, to name a few.
Even seemingly positive things such as advancements in medicine, progress in technology, and other such innovative stuff, can prove harmful and ultimately contribute to the ending of the world.
AI – Artificial Intelligence
If you’ve ever seen the movies ‘I, Robot,’ ‘The Matrix’ or ‘The Terminator Series,’ then you know that Artificial Intelligence could be the end of all of us one day. AI, or Artificial Intelligence, comprises of robots built with intelligence or the ability to learn. They could either develop self-awareness or become so smart that they could decide that humans are a ‘threat.’
English physicist and world famous scientist Dr. Stephen Hawking has warned that AI could end humanity if it becomes too smart. The renowned scientist says that the danger isn’t from ‘Terminator’-like machines, but AI which is capable of creating even better AI on its own, making humans obsolete in the process.
Regardless of us not being able to see them, we sure know that they are out there. Black holes are areas of super-high gravitational energy with a pull so great that nothing – not even light – can escape. Scientists aren’t entirely sure about how a black hole would destroy the earth, but they’re kind of sure it would be bad.
A black hole would alter the gravity and orbit of the planets. On top of that, it would send a lot of comets and debris into Earth’s path. If you survive this, the ever-increasing gravitational pull would alter the landscape and make Earth uninhabitable. You might remember black holes from famous movies such as ‘Interstellar’ and ‘The Black Hole.’ If people are making movies about it, then it sure is a problem!
This one is a world-ender, but not as bad as the movies make it out to be. Geomagnetic reversal refers to the swapping of polar North and South. If you’re a compass maker, a migratory bird or animal, such a swap could potentially have consequences.
However, it is unlikely that the Earth will stop spinning and the ground will rip open up as a result. The Earth’s gravitational field provides us with protection against things like solar flares and radiation from our sun. That is why, if any drastic change in the field could make us more vulnerable if it happens at just the wrong time.
At least once a year the cable news giants dedicate a lot of air time to the latest flu or disease that is going to wipe us out. Thankfully, every year the threat is shown to be overblown or is resolved by efforts to quarantine and develop vaccines by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Nevertheless, with a rapidly increasing world population of over seven billion and climbing, combined with ever-increasing speeds of travel, there are some who think it is just a matter of time until a big virus or bacterial strain comes along which can’t be contained.
We frequently see movies about zombie apocalypses hitting the market. With the movies on the rise, could this be a possibility due to an infectious outbreak?
Now and then, somewhere, a volcano erupts. And we all know what comes with it: molten debris, lava, and pure destruction. Volcanic eruptions have the ability to destroy cities. The example of the historic city Pompeii is an excellent example of this.
Spewing magma, smoke, and ash affects air travel and can also cause global cooling depending on how much ash they shoot into the atmosphere. A super volcano makes a regular eruption looks like a little campfire. Around the world, there are several super volcano locations with Yellowstone National Park, USA, being one of the most famous. We have seen previous ones and read about them, too.
An eruption would be devastating – wiping out everything within hundreds of kilometers and blanketing continents with ash. The planet would cool, crops would die, and so would life.
Despite the fact that a lot of people are still somehow skeptical about the whole climate change debate, quite a few scientists are convinced that it is a real threat.
According to them, it could end humanity by the end of this century. Some believe that the damage is already done and moves to cut carbon emissions are too little, too late.
With global temperatures set to rise two degrees, water levels will rise at least a meter. It will displace millions of people, lead to crop failures, and food and water shortages. In short, we will be unable to sustain ourselves.
In the name of scientific advancement, we biologically engineer and genetically modify all sorts of things to improve them. From playing around with viruses to genetically enhancing corn to dabbling with human biological development, science can be a powerful tool.
However, there are warnings, which messing around too much could weaken people, create some form of super virus or leave our food vulnerable to pests and disease, all of which could contribute to the end of us.
It seems like we would have to find Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck because we’re going to need them to stop our planet from dying. Granted that they are just actors, but the threat of an asteroid impact scares a lot of people, and with good reason.
Many years ago, a ten-kilometer wide asteroid wiped the dinosaurs. Disturbingly, researchers claim that something just one kilometer in size would be enough to fill out atmosphere with light – blocking dust, leading to crop failures and starvation. Like many other worlds ending events, this one is rare but very real.
Our sun is a massive nuclear reactor, and while it provides us with life, it is still potentially dangerous. And no, this damage isn’t only limited to sunburns or skin cancer. In this case, it’s something called coronal mass ejections which occur when large clouds of the particle are ejected from the sun into space.
It happens all the time. But the odds of striking the Earth are relatively slim. In 2012, a blast left the sun and passed a spot the Earth had been in, just days before. Experts say if we’re ever hit head on, anything tied to the electrical network would be fried beyond repair. Don’t feel too safe!
This is the reason people believe the world would end. For the last seventy years, humanity has lived under varying threats levels associated with nuclear war. Today, with the ever increasing between superpowers of the world, experts say that we are edging back to a potential nuclear exchange.
It would be kind of bad for us. In a case where major powers opted to use their full arsenals, the world’s population would be devastated. For survivors, experts say that the months and years following would be terrible as temperatures would drop, crops would fail, the disease would spread and people would starve.