Apocalypse hype distracts from real issues

In Opinion
(Courtesy of Wikimedia)

The world was supposed to end in 2000, and again in 2011, and yet again in 2012. Now, it’s supposed to end on Oct. 15. According to deadbeat scientists, the human population has experienced a possible apocalypse at least 10 times.

By writing about the claims of self-described “researcher” David Meade — the person who professed the Earth’s demise on Oct. 15 — newspapers are making themselves unreliable sources that give credence to wacky theories, when they should be bringing attention to the real threats that Earth is facing.

Newspapers can avoid becoming fake news by upholding their primary principle of seeking the truth and focusing on issues with actual evidence, especially when it comes to doomsday scenarios.

Not everything is fine and dandy on Earth – there are a lot of real doomsday issues to focus on.

The planet still faces plenty of environmental issues that slowly make it less inhabitable each day.

A conspiracy theorist might think that one day the oceans will rise up and sweep away half the population, but a reliable source would say that doomsday doesn’t just happen in one day. It is a slow process that builds up to a massive disaster.

For example, many people aren’t aware of the pattern of ocean acidification over the past 200 years. The ocean has increased 30 percent in acidity, resulting in a decrease of 0.1 pH unit, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A change of 0.1 pH unit might not seem like much, but that’s all it takes for thousands of animal species to struggle to survive in their habitats. One of the biggest examples is the decaying of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and home to over 1,500 different species of tropical fish and other variants, according to the Great Barrier Reef’s official website.

Species are dying out not just in the oceans, but on land too .

From 1970 to 2012, the average population of monitored species declined by 58 percent, according to the 2016 World Wildlife Fund report. Issues like habitat loss, species overexploitation and pollution have contributed to the deaths of thousands of animal species and could easily contribute to thousands more.

In 2016, 815 million people were undernourished, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Sadly, people don’t have to wait for doomsday because it’s already happening due to world hunger.

None of this is particularly exciting or new, but it’s what people need to know – not some random guy’s ominous calculations. Reporters should focus on notable doomsday issues because they have information that can be traced back to actual research and analysis, unlike the findings from end-of-the-world theorists.

The human race will probably end because of less sensational issues that aren’t being addressed. These real issues may not get as many clicks, but they’re more realistic than the latest doomsday predictions.

Instead of instigating hysteria about the end of the world through some random date, newspapers can fascinate their audiences by reminding them about how the public’s actions, or lack thereof, inherently contribute to the end of the world.

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