A month from today the Mayan Calendar’s long count runs its course and starts a new cycle. Some eschatologists believe that the End Times will come on December 21, 2012. There is even a website counting down the minutes to Doomsday. So, with a grain of salt, Sun Media offers up 10 possible scenarios of complete and utter devastation to the world as we know it.
SCENARIO: Cataclysmic Pole Shift
WHY: The idea is the earth goes through rapid pole shifts, resulting in complete catastrophe: floods, volcanoes, earthquakes. The hypothesis came before the accepted plate tectonics theory, and is most associated with American professor Charles Hapgood. Prophets like Edgar Cayce and Gordon Michael Scallion have tried to drive the theory home: What was once cold will be warm and vice versa. Roland Emmerich’s movie 2012 touched upon this theory, citing Graham Hancock as one the film’s inspiration.
SCENARIO: Impact Event
WHY: Barringer Crater in Arizona, the Tunguska Event in Russia and the Chicxulub Crater on the Yucatan Peninsula are all examples of what happens when heaven meets Earth. It’s not unreasonable to have an asteroid, meteor or comet collide with our planet and cause … problems. In 1994, astronomers witnessed the impact that comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 had on Jupiter. In the past decade, Earth has had five close calls – notably in November 2011 when the 400-metre diameter 2005 YU55 came within 0.85 lunar distances of the planet.
SCENARIO: Zombie Apocalypse
WHY: Playing off of the global pandemic scenario, writer Max Brooks explains that an infectious disease called Solanum will afflict the population in his book The Zombie Survival Guide, turning the world into a shambling mass of undead. His second book, World War Z, soon to be a motion picture starring Brad Pitt, he logs the events that bring the world to the brink of devastation. Laugh if you will, but sometimes reality is far more frightening than anything the imagination can muster up.
SCENARIO: World War III
WHY: Tensions between the haves and the have-nots are reaching a fever pitch. Social and political unrest in nations tends to lead to both domestic and international conflict, as was seen when the Nazis rose to power in Germany after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Throw religion into the mix, as has been evident with Middle East conflicts, and there is bound to be a boiling over. But on the bright side going to war stimulates industry, boosting the economy … not.
SCENARIO: Sea Levels Rising
WHY: Kevin Costner’s bomb Waterworld aside the current interglacial period has seen a rise in sea levels. For example Venice, Italy has seen one of its worst flooding episodes in 150 years. Some theories point the finger at global warming; others to the fact that the earth is in an interglacial period where glaciers recede and polar ice shelves shrink. Some people have foreseen the rising tides, namely prophets Edgar Cayce and Gordon Michael Scallion, and theorist Graham Hancock, writer of Fingerprints of the Gods.
SCENARIO: Global Pandemic
WHY: We’ve seen the recent spread of diseases like AIDS, SARS and tuberculosis, and history has shown the devastation that small pox, the bubonic plague and typhus have had on populations, but nothing as great as depicted in Stephen King’s The Stand or hypothesized in Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone. With so many people on the planet, nature has to find a way to strike a balance, and a pandemic would do just the trick to humble humanity.
SCENARIO: Judgment Day
WHY: Whether it’s Greek, Roman or Norse mythology, or a modern religion’s belief system, like Christianity’s the Rapture, all cultures have a story regarding the End of Days. Christians associate theirs with the second coming of Christ, where the chosen few will go to heaven while the rest suffer through hell.
SCENARIO: Nuclear Winter
WHY: With several nations allegedly clambering to get their hands on nuclear arms, namely Iran and North Korea, along with other volatile nations in possession of them, the fears associated with the Cold War are still a clear and present danger. The theoretical cataclysm resulting from a mass detonation of nuclear arms is severe cold weather and reduced sunlight. At least people won’t have to worry about harmful UV rays.
SCENARIO: Electromagnetic Pulse
WHY: Mostly associated with nuclear arms, the electromagnetic pulse or EMP can also come from solar flares or geomagnetic storms caused by celestial bodies. However those long-lasting blips have been known to render all electronic devices useless. A large-scale power outage has been recently popularized in J.J. Abrams sci-fi television show Revolution.
WHY: While some may scoff at the theory the planet may end up being a super-sized litter box, research of the Nile River valley shows that what is now desert was once fertile land. Mesopotamia, the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys, was once known as the Fertile Crescent. A desert world, as popularized in the Mad Max films, is not so far off as the Sahara Desert has been reported to be growing in size. Deforestation, agricultural pressures on the land and wind erosion play large roles in the creation of deserts.
Originally posted on all Sun Media websites, Nov. 20, 2012