How the World will End: Possibilities

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

— Robert Frost

Last year I met a man who did catastrophe analysis for the Federal government. He spent his days thinking about what disasters were possible, calculating their probability and doing estimates of their cost in human life, as percentages of GDP, and as breaches of national security. What a way to spend your days! As I listened to him talk my imagination was blooming with a thousand mushroom clouds, and a thousand dystopian scenarios. It was fascinating.

I just found the notes I jotted down later, which tell a story of the world ending in a thousand ways. Here they are:

Societal collapse

  • Access to water
  • Population growth
  • Inequality

Climate Change
Caldera under Wyoming, the Yellowstone Bulge (See Yellowstone is rising on swollen “Supervolcano”. )
Undersea Range
Ocean acidification
Nuclear Strike

  • North Korea
  • China
  • The rapidly declining population of Russia

Cyber Attack

  • Power Grid
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Military

For Total Destruction, 80% of GDP:ASTEROID

Author: Caterina Fake

Literature, Art, Poetry, Homeschooling Mother. Founder & CEO, Findery. Co-founder, Flickr & Hunch.

9 thoughts on “How the World will End: Possibilities”

  1. Hi Caterina, I’ve enjoy the poems you occasionally post or quote from here but have difficulty finding good poetry on my own. Would you consider posting a list of some of your favorite poems or collections? It would make for a great post.


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  3. just consider the lack of energy(oil) and the cause it will have on the world as we know it:
    1) no more mass food production
    2) no more mass production of goods
    3) no more cheap supply chain

    last economical crisis was correlated with oil shortage.
    so now imagine when the supply drops significantly which some expert predict within 20 years.
    cc. Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert’s Peak

    so to conclude, no more cheap energy => >60% drop in GDP

    good news might be:
    slow down in human activities will limit the environmental impact.

    bad news:
    if not enough energy how to we keep the existing risky assets such as nuclear devices in good conditions.
    how to avoid conflicts when limited resources? will dominant players back off quietly and accept or not.


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