How Many People Does it Take to End the World?

We all have encountered someone so foolish, so incompetent or careless, we wonder that they’re able to get up and get to work day after day, and thus far, haven’t hurt themselves or anyone. Maybe they have great potential (or did) but now they’re a disaster waiting to happen. Or maybe they’re the ones who will bring about the end of the world.

One of the most frightening scenarios I’ve found for possible causes of the apocalypse is human error. Undoubtedly, living in the society we do, we’re all likely guilty to lesser or greater extents of doing damage to our world and environment, but I’m talking about a much more extreme and rapid destruction than environmental meltdown.

Thus, here are my five possibilities for how one person can ruin the world.

  1. International incident causing war, resulting in World War Three, which leads to the end of the world as we know it.Yep, here some yahoo who, let’s just say isn’t a good traveler, and stumbles into territory he shouldn’t, says / does something to piss off someone with power, and whoever he encounters is probably about as much of a yahoo as the traveler, and when you put two of them together, well, you’ve got trouble, or maybe an apocalypse.

    SaintStupid, source: en:User:48states Original uploader was 48states at en.wikipedia source, from

  2. Scientific Oops.  Science marches on, and sometimes the discoveries could lead be a threat to the world. Especially in the hands of a science-smart but otherwise impractical or foolish individual, who, say, lets some kind of disease loose on the population, or maybe intentionally sells secrets, all sorts of things that don’t consider the possibilities – like ending everything.
  3. Nuclear meltdown and war. It’s a frightening reality that there are stores of nuclear material and weapons pretty much all over the place, especially the US and Russia following the Cold War and the arms race (at least according to documentaries, and how much they just want to scare us all is a completely different issue). In Russia and surrounding areas making up the former Soviet Union, it’s said that much of this material is poorly protected, possibly losing stability, maybe stolen or sold by corrupt officials to folks who might want to start a war. Thus, one corrupt guy who wants a new car could doom us all.
  4. Nuclear war. So, sensors left over from the Cold War era are starting to fail, and maybe causing false alarms. One guy in Country B sees a sensor saying Country A is sending a nuclear device an attack on Country B, so he panics and sends in a preemptive strike – which is actually the first attack, creating all kinds of trouble unless calmer minds are able to step in and prevail. One guy (plus one set of failing systems) ends the world.
  5. The wrong decision. Yeah, this is kind of broad since (fortunately) I’m having problems thinking of the way only one person could cause the apocalypse. But, one person – maybe even not that foolish person but a well-meaning soul – could change everything for the worse. Tick off some aliens? Give the go on an attack, or conversely, hold back on an action until it’s too late? Big decisions are rarely made by just one person, instead going through a line and rank of people, but at the very top of that line, maybe even in a decision made by committee, it could come down to one person to cast that final vote, make the final decision. And unless it’s the right one, it could cost us all dearly.

So, how many people does it take to destroy the world? Maybe only one. So we just have to hope it doesn’t come down to that.

Any more suggestions how one person can cause a whole lot of doom and gloom? Or do you think it would never come to that?

Have a great week, and thanks for reading.


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