A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

If the End Comes . . .


With just over a month until the much ballyhooed end of the Mayan calendar, are you prepared for planetary disaster? As a promo for the second season of its reality show Doomsday Preppers, National Geographic TV says that nine out of ten people recently surveyed expect a world disaster within the next 25 years. But most of us say we’re not prepared for it.

Here’s how some of it breaks down:

  • Anticipating world disaster: 90%
  • Expecting a significant hurricane: 58%
  • … or a major earthquake: 53%
  • … a terrorist attack: 51%
  • … financial collapse: 49%
  • … an epic blackout: 33%
  • … a pandemic: 21%
  • … nuclear fallout: 13%

If there’s going to be a major disaster, almost seven out of ten of us (69%) say it will be a natural disaster, not a man-made one.

The survey doesn’t probe the question of what people consider to be “natural” as opposed to “man-made.” After all, with the planet now experiencing the beginnings of major climate change, how much of a drought or a hurricane is “natural”? Isn’t a pandemic that’s incubated at a factory farm basically man-made?

How prepared are we for catastrophe?

The survey asked people what they’d done to prepare for Hurricane Sandy:

  • Most of the people affected by Sandy (85%) had bought at least one thing to prepare for this event. 
  • Six in ten said the storm has made them think more about being prepared for possible disaster. 
  • But only four in ten are confident in the federal government’s ability to handle a storm like Sandy.

Some other findings of the survey:

  • Just over half of people would want to have a religious text, like the Bible or Koran, in hand if they were expecting a major disaster.
  • But only six out of ten would want their last sexual encounter to be with their significant other. (26% of men and 17% of women would prefer a celebrity.)
  • And only 3% of us would quit our jobs – hmm, perhaps just in case the world doesn’t quite end?


More than one in four of us actively know someone who’s a committed doomsday prepper. On NatGeo TV’s upcoming season, you can meet people like Robert and Debbie Earl, Floridians who worry about the seas rising and are building a home constructed of old tires and sand-filled bottles near Alpine, Texas.

… and Jay Blevins, a former deputy sheriff and SWAT officer in Berryville, Va., who expects a financial meltdown leading to a devastating level of social unrest. So he’s formed a prepper network of family and friends, who can work together in case of calamity.

… and Braxton Southwick, who’s been getting ready for a weaponized biological terrorist attack. So he and his family of eight have stored chemical suits, along with more than 2,000 pounds of flour, sugar and other food, along with water, gas, diesel, coal, guns and chickens. And they’re ready to truck it all to a secret cabin/bunker 90 minutes from their home in Salt Lake City.


Our take on this: Yes, there will indeed be calamities in the coming years: storms, droughts, pandemics and more. Human civilization will be severely impacted. But rather than storing away supplies to give ourselves a few more months of life, or thinking about who we’d like to have a last fling with, we might want to take a look at our relationship to the world of nature and how our personal way of living is continuing to make the world a much worse place for our fellow animals.

And rather than simply thinking about our own survival, which, frankly, is all our species ever does, maybe it’s time to do something on behalf of those other animals. After all, it’s they, most of all, who are affected by our supreme irresponsibility.

*     *     *

Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. The series airs on National Geographic TV at 9 pm ET/PT Tuesdays.