A recent world-wide poll conducted by Ipsos Global Public Affairs for Reuters indicates that just about 15% of the earth’s population believe that they will live to see the end of the world, and 10% think this will happen in 2012. Over 16,000 people in more than 20 countries took part in the survey.

Media Involvement

1 in 7 people believe they will see the end of the world in their lifetimeCredit: http://mrg.bz/JBw6dl

A concern about the end of the world fuels and is fueled by hundreds of books and websites, and numerous news stories and events. Many of these sources use 2012 as an end date. Here are some examples:

• In recent years the History Channel has featured a number of doomsday programs including “End of Days”, “2012”, “Last Days on Earth”, “Nostradamus”, and “Seven Signs of the Apocalypse”.

• Drastic natural catastrophes such as major solar storms, earthquakes and extreme volcanoes were featured in a Discovery Channel show called “2012 Apocalypse”.

• “The Lost Symbol”, written by Dan Brown, used 2012 as the time for an apocalypse.

• In the 2011 film Melancholia, a planet appears from behind the sun and is on a collision course with earth.

• A recent National Geographic television reality show, “Doomsday Preppers”, follows the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are getting ready for the end of the world as we know it.

• Numerous music hits such as “Till the World Ends” and “It Ain’t the End” deal with apocalyptic events in 2012.

• Some television ads are focused on products to help survive in coming disasters.

Reactions from the Public

There are varied reactions from people around the world to concerns about impending disaster. For example:

• Since 2007, a public outreach website at NASA has received over 5,000 queries from people concerned about impending disaster, and devotes space on its website to relieve public concerns.     

• Mayors in some Brazilian cities have recommended that their citizens should prepare for the end of the world by stockpiling supplies and food. In some areas, colonies are being prepared for survivors. Some hotels are taking reservations for dates considered prophetic.

• The sale of private underground blast shelters in the United States has increased since 2009.

• In Mexico, the tourism board is trying to capitalize on disaster concerns. For example, the Mayan town of Tapachula has built a large digital clock that provides a countdown to the Mayan end time, b’ak’tun 13.

Why Some People are Concerned

There are a number of reasons often cited for being concerned about a coming apocalypse, and even more so for it happening in 2012.

The Mayan Calendar predicts the end of the world on December 21, 2012Credit: http://mrg.bz/RSBACe

• The Mayan Calendar predicts the end of the earth on December 21, 2012. Some believe that since the Mayans were able to so accurately predict the lunar cycle thousands of years ago, they are probably right about this end date as well.

• Scientists are experimenting with the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, the Hadron Collider, on the Franco-Swiss border. All kinds of deadly results are predicted, including the world being crushed into a dense blob when serious experimentation begins in 2012.

• Some interpretations of the Christian Bible, the Chinese I Ching and parts of Hindu teachings point to 2012 as the time of final battle between Good and Evil.

• The Yellowstone volcano in Yellowstone National Park erupts about every 650,000 years, and some believe it is due for a major eruption in 2012, with resulting atmospheric ash that could cause a 15,000 year winter.

• Some physicists and mathematicians provide numbers that show that the Earth is due for a major catastrophe, and provide what they refer to as 99% accurate guesses this will happen in 2012.

• The Earth’s magnetic fields protect the earth from harmful UV rays. But the poles are shifting and the pole switch is coming soon. When this happens, deadly UV rays will bombard the earth.

• Solar storms from the sun have been causing problems with electrical communications on earth, and this is expected to get worse, with a deadly peaking in 2012.

You decide: cause for concern or imaginative doom predictions?