You’re More Likely to Die in a Global Disaster Than a Car Crash

global disaster
If you’re a prepper, then you’re probably inundated with doomsday alarmism on a fairly regular basis. It comes with the territory. While in the process of staying informed on all of the possible threats to civilization, you will inevitably run into fear-mongering claims that the sky is going to fall on our world tomorrow. These outlandish claims not only distract us from genuine threats, but they also make the prepper community look silly and paranoid to mainstream society.

However, there are real threats that we have to worry about. Real threats that the mainstream often thinks are just as crazy as the alarmist threats. Most people look at preppers and think that they’re crazy for believing that civilization could be destroyed by many different threats, leading to the deaths of millions of people, but it’s a very real possibility. It’s worth preparing for.

As a matter of fact, you might be able to scientifically prove that it’s worth preparing for.

See, most people would look at the countless threats to society, both the legitimate ones and the crazy ones, and just shrug their shoulders. “Why bother?” they would say, “why should I worry about this? It’s probably going to kill everyone anyway, and there are already plenty of normal things I have to worry about, like cancer and house fires and car crashes. Why should I spend any time, energy, or money, worrying about a pandemic or a nuclear war, which is far less likely?”

But they should worry about it, because statistically speaking, those catastrophic threats are more likely to effect them than some of the more mundane threats, like the aforementioned car crashes. In fact, a recent study looked at different threats that could lead to the extinction of the human race, and compared their likelihood to the threat of dying in a car crash, and the results were not what you might expect.

In its annual report on “global catastrophic risk,” the nonprofit debuted a startling statistic: Across the span of their lives, the average American is more than five times likelier to die during a human-extinction event than in a car crash.

Partly that’s because the average person will probably not die in an automobile accident. Every year, one in 9,395 people die in a crash; that translates to about a 0.01 percent chance per year. But that chance compounds over the course of a lifetime. At life-long scales, one in 120 Americans die in an accident.

The risk of human extinction due to climate change—or an accidental nuclear war—is much higher than that. The Stern Review, the U.K. government’s premier report on the economics of climate change, estimated a 0.1 percent risk of human extinction every year. That may sound low, but it also adds up when extrapolated to century-scale. The Global Challenges Foundation estimates a 9.5 percent chance of human extinction within the next hundred years.

Somehow I doubt that climate change could come close to extinguishing humanity, but nuclear war is certainly capable wiping most of us out.  And not only is that disaster becoming more likely due to current international tensions, but even during peace time there is always the threat of an accidental nuclear war.

But human extinction level events are hardly the only things we have to worry about.  The Global Challenges Foundation also looked at disasters that could kill 10% or more of the population. Pandemics are the most likely to cause those kinds of deaths, but they also explored some of the threats that aren’t talked about very often, like genetically engineered diseases, artificial intelligence, and geo-engineering.

Nearly all of the most threatening global catastrophic risks were unforeseeable a few decades before they became apparent. Forty years before the discovery of the nuclear bomb, few could have predicted that nuclear weapons would come to be one of the leading global catastrophic risks. Immediately after the Second World War, few could have known that catastrophic climate change, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence would come to pose such a significant threat.

Obviously it’s difficult to put a precise statistic on these existential threats, some of which may or may not even happen. However, when you put the likelihood of all these disasters together, as well as the number casualties they could inflict, it’s clear that they deserve just as much attention as anything else that might threaten your life.

So the next time someone tells you that you’re crazy for preparing yourself for a global disaster, you can confidently assure them that it makes just as much sense as keeping a fire extinguishers in the kitchen, or wearing a seat-belt.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 3rd, 2016
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  • J.R.

    “Somehow I doubt that climate change could come close to extinguishing humanity”.

    That’s because you are uninformed on the topic. Climate change WILL wipe out humanity and quite soon – but not from heat – from starvation (first) as the world’s food supply disappears.

    Wet-bulb temperatures are already killing both humans and crops, and are expected to dramatically increase. Respiration of the human / animal body must be maintained at tolerable limits. Plants have the same requirements, but cannot move themselves or take advantage of technology like air-conditioning. Crop losses on a global scale will be extremely common and wide-place, affecting the world’s food supply. Starvation and competition for food products will be severe. So while heat-related deaths will spike, it will be food loss that first causes mass human die-offs.

    This will all occur with just 4C of warming too – which may not seem like much, but it is absolutely enough to wipe out crop production. These temperatures are expected to be globally experienced by 2030 too. As temperatures increase between now and then, expect food prices to skyrocket. This is also why countries are in a spending spree to purchase as much crop land as they possibly can right now, they are keenly aware of what will soon happen with the global food supply, especially in those countries to be first affected by the rise in temperatures and / or corresponding drought conditions.

    Climate change will indeed kill of most, if not all, life on Earth within the next 100 years or so. But it is because there will be no available food as plants and animals all die from both starvation, heat stress, drought and on the other extreme, deluge (excessive rain).

    Increased temperatures increases the hydrological cycle (evaporation) quite dramatically, it’s already up 8% right now. Excessive and extreme rain / weather events are the result (superstorms) which will further the impact on food production, infrastructure and overall survivability of both plants, animals and humans.

    • Eileen Kuch

      Climate change is a natural phenomenon this planet has undergone for 4+ billion years. The sun is the major contributor, followed by volcanic activity.
      We’re currently approaching the solar minimum, wherein temperatures are not rising, but dropping. The more sunspots the sun has, the higher the Earth’s temperatures; and on the other hand, the less sunspots it has, the lower the Earth’s temperatures. The northern parts of Ireland have been enduring severe snowstorms well into April and even into May.
      In the Arctic, the total number of polar bears have increased from a paltry 5,000 to a healthy 25,000 – a sign that the polar ice caps have been growing back since the beginning of this century. The Antarctic ice sheets are growing even faster. Global cooling also affects crops and the world food supply – but at a quicker, more deadly pace.
      The Medieval Warm Period saw the disappearance of ice on Greenland, where a settlement of Vikings was built; but, around 1000 AD, the climate quickly cooled down; the Vikings on Greenland were all frozen to death as snow and ice reclaimed the island; and the Northern Hemisphere saw drastic weather changes, from blizzards in the northern regions to steady rains in the temperate regions – destroying crops and making Europe ripe for the Black Death (Plague) to sweep in from Asia some 340 years later and take another 25 – 30 million lives.
      Knowledgeable climate scientists today are more and more talking about another mini-Ice Age, similar to that in 1815. Signs are now pointing in that direction.

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