9 Potential World-Ending Ecological Disasters That Should Terrify You Right Now

No one is safe.

1.
Flickr: jesseslife / Creative Commons

Much of Yellowstone is a supervolcano. The National Park Service says an event is unlikely to occur in the next thousand years, but that’s a minuscule amount of time in the grand scheme of things (the last eruption was 640,000 years ago).

Still, it’s possible, and should Yellowstone erupt, enough ash would be sent skyward to block the sun, ushering in a new ice age for much of the northern hemisphere.

2.
Flickr: codyhanson / Creative Commons

Due to global warming, jellyfish numbers are on the rise. That’s a problem because they’re producing more carbon than the oceans can handle, and in turn, messing up the marine food cycle. Massive blooms of jellies cause problems for power plants all over the world, and they cause panic on beaches because they’re creepy as hell. It’s just a matter of time before they take over the world. How will you greet our new jelly overlords?

3.
Flickr: 124330160 / Creative Commons

Bees are dying, and nobody knows exactly why. There are plenty of theories (malnutrition? pesticides? black magic?) but the only thing that’s certain is that colony collapse could spell disaster for the human race. Bees pollinate crops, and the elimination of hives would cause major ecological disaster. If bees die, plants die. If plants die, animals die.

4.
The Halcyon Company

Stop rolling your eyes, it could happen. In fact, the UN’s been called on to ban killer robots. The fear that machines might one day become so advanced as to become sentient isn’t a new concept, and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (yes, it’s real) aims to ban deadly humanoids before mankind has a chance to develop them.

5.
Flickr: dragontoller / Creative Commons

Remember a couple years ago when scientists engineered a potentially airborne version of bird flu? Sure, it was in a lab, and it was all probably very safe, but it brings up the concerns that such a disease might escape or be intentionally released. That’s how the first Resident Evil movie started, after all.

6.

When a star collapses, it creates a black hole with an intense gravitational pull that devours everything around it. Most are stationary, but in 2000 wandering black holes were discovered. Should one of those meandering, hungry vacuums wander too close to our galaxy, it would pretty much be the end of life as we know it. Space is scary.

7.
Flickr: edsweeney / Creative Commons

Deep Impact is real, y’all, and not even Téa Leoni’s ageless beauty can save us. Earth has been hit by millions of asteroids in the past four aeons, and even though large-scale impacts aren’t common anymore, it could certainly happen. NASA’s Torino scale assesses the possible dangers of any given asteroid—a 10 is described as a collision “capable of causing global climatic catastrophe that may threaten the future of civilization as we know it, whether impacting land or ocean.”

8.
H. R. Giger

Two billion planets in our galaxy can potentially sustain life. There’s no definitive evidence of life existing out there, but it’s entirely possible. Who’s to say they aren’t more advanced than us? Who’s to say they wouldn’t enslave us/eat us upon first contact?

9.
AMC

OK, so this one’s pretty speculative, but it’s not as farfetched as you think. According to virologist Samita Andreansky, the rabies virus could potentially mutate and become airborne, which could be the beginnings of a zombie apocalypse. While unlikely, it’s theoretically possible to create a hybrid virus between something like rabies and influenza or ebola. Now would be a good time to practice your archery skills.

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