Over the past two years or so, TV reality shows have been featuring popular depictions of worldwide disasters, and those preparing for that possibility. As a result, far more people are taking the concept of a doomsday scenario seriously. This fact has not escaped the attention of the media – and that’s not just the tabloids.
The New York Times wrote about this soon after the National Geographic Channel introduced the first of these shows — called “Doomsday Preppers”— in February 2012. The show was about people stockpiling, arming and otherwise preparing for some kind of apocalypse.
This was followed up a month later by the Discovery Channel with its own take on the situation, named “Doomsday Bunkers.” Their angle focused on a company called Deep Earth Bunker, which builds underground getaways for the types of people seen in “Doomsday Preppers.” While it’s true that the NYT continues its reviews on a slightly less positive and even cynical note, it does not deny that programs like this cause people to pause and consider whether the possibility of a future worldwide disaster is actually a probability.
Indeed, the interest generated by “Doomsday Preppers” encouraged National Geographic to launch a spinoff show called “Doomsday Castle,” which followed the activities of one family whose father set about building an enormous castle to protect his family against what he perceived to be a real and viable threat. He wants them all to know as much about sustainable survival skills as he does. The popularity of these shows, plus fictional programs and movies where a doomsday scenario occurs, show how an increasing number of people believe that such a thing could really happen.
According to a survey conducted for National Geographic Channel, nine out of ten Americans expect a world disaster to occur in the next quarter century – but 56 percent say they aren’t prepared. The percentage of respondents in a survey of 1,040 adults who predicted catastrophes was astonishing:
- Significant hurricane: 58 percent
- Major earthquake: 53 percent
- Terrorist attack: 51 percent
- Financial collapse: 49 percent
- Widespread blackout: 33 percent
- Pandemic: 25 percent
- Nuclear fallout: 13 percent
(Source: Kelton Research for National Geographic Channel)