Alternative SHTF Scenarios

I’ve noticed that many members of the various “prepper” groups seem to have a narrow vision regarding how civilization may end, and some won’t consider or prep for other possible situations. A lot of survivalists have read apocalyptic books or watched similarly-themed movies and sold their souls to those scenarios. I personally think it’s a good idea to be flexible with your preps because we really don’t know what disaster we may face in the future.

The movie stars of the apocalypse genre tend to be: 

  • EMP Attack
  • World War III a/k/a Nuclear War
  • Biological or Chemical Warfare

But, how else might civilization end?

This article will cover some of the less popular methods which could end the world. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list of possible world-ending disasters, and I’m not going to delve too deeply into some of these theoretical scenarios. Almost all of these disasters will cause social unrest and global conflict. Others may cause instant death for some or all life on the planet, and there probably isn’t any prepping you can do to survive it (except maybe build a self-sufficient space colony). 

I should also mention that reader discretion is advised. These scenarios favor a western (USA) point of view, and some may find the two religious parts offensive[1]

Act of God

Let’s rip the Band-Aid off and start this list with Act of God.

God decides to kill or rapture all of his worthy believers and at least 1 billion people die all at the same time. The same God who “works in mysterious ways” forgot or decided not to explain why he did this, so nobody really knows why all these people died/disappeared for no reason at all.

Planes start falling out of the sky because, by some miracle, both pilots were true believers and worshiped the correct way. We lose a large percentage of firefighters and fires rage out of control across the globe. The economy suffers as workplaces start finding out that workers are gone. Some businesses close entirely because the owner disappeared. 

There are different reactions to the loss of 1 billion people:

  • 1/4 Wonders why it happened and want to avoid it at all cost. Is it a new plague? Is it a massive international conspiracy? Aliens?!
  • 1/4 Are of a different faith and have their own apocalyptic theories.
  • 1/8 Don’t care.
  • 1/8 Are uppity Bible-thumpers who got the insult of an eternity, because all their hypocrisies were laid out to the open. 
  • 1/8 Jokingly think Thanos snapped his fingers.
  • 1/8 Where are all the gays? Oh my GOD! He really did make them that way.

Other God or Goddess Attacks

A forgotten Goddess picks a random day to exact their revenge and knocks a planet-killing asteroid into the path of our planet. All temples and religious text related to this Goddess had blueprints and instructions on how to build a communications device to commune with the entity and appease her. Unfortunately, the 3 major religions ruined our chances of survival.

  • The followers of Judaism wiped out most of the Goddess’s followers during an invasion 3,000 years ago.
  • Then Christians came and persecuted the rest into extinction or conversion, and burned the last religious texts.
  • And then radical Muslims blew up the only known temple belonging to this angry Goddess[2]

Coincidently, the goddess is worshipped in India, the land of a million gods and goddesses. She happens to be one of the goddesses who protects a city block. There’s even a small temple dedicated to her, which has instructions on how to build the all-important transmitter.

BUT, Earth is destroyed before the Indians can tell others of this.

Now that I’ve got that awkwardness out of the way… let’s see how else the world as we know it could end.


The two bad guys of the modern world (Russia and China) formalize a military alliance. They can clearly see the general incompetence of our government has taken its toll on our country and decide now’s the time to take out their strongest opponent. 

Despite multiple party changes and supposedly tighter security measures, the US Government has allowed a foreign army to grow inside the country. This army has been stockpiling supplies and ammo for two decades. Finally, the long-awaited signal is received and the 5th column is mobilized.

The attack is multipronged. The “Sleeper” or “Manchurian” Army attacks key military targets, while hackers from around the world attack our electronic and eCommerce industries. They also attack our civil infrastructure to wreak general havoc. The country is completely unprepared as the devastating strike cripples our country from within.

While the enemy saboteurs rape our economy and public infrastructure, their navies send large battlefleets to blockade Taiwan in a mock-invasion. This is only a ploy to distract our military, and it works because state of the art troop ships are allowed to sneak armies onto the American west and gulf coasts… unopposed. The defense of our country is completely dependent on National Guard units and civil militias.

Who knows what the outcome of such a war will be, but you should expect anything. Heck, the USA may launch nukes to maintain its territorial sovereignty… maybe on its own soil. 

Hostile Takeover

Similar to the practice in business, a foreign government may call-in all the debts and bonds their nation owns and force our country to default. Faced with economic collapse, the government may be forced to cede control of material resources, digital assets, or even territory. 

If our government refuses to pay, the national economy will collapse because it’s been proven that our nation can’t be trusted to honor or pay its debt. The hostile country may launch cyber or military attacks to compel us to pay, which may start a world war.

In the end, we’ll have to rely on ourselves to survive. 

This could already be happening. For the past 7 months (to this publication), China has been selling its US government debt. Such action could be a preliminary measure to a much more dramatic selloff. Or, it could be proof China is preparing for war against us.

Global Famine (Plausible/Fact-based)

Russia and China have been preparing for a future global famine for years. They’ve been hoarding chemical fertilizer and stopped selling it to other nations. For example, India once purchased most of their fertilizer from China, but now they’re experiencing a shortage and are faced with the possibility they may not be able to feed the more than 1 billion people in their country.  

We only have ONE major fertilizer plant, which caught on fire a few months ago. We have a few smaller producers, but that won’t meet the demand. 

Now, Russia is invading Ukraine, the “breadbasket of Europe”. With the knowledge of the fertilizer shortage, one has to wonder if the reason why Russia attacked. Most claim it was to stop Ukraine from joining NATO, but I keep myself updated on global politics and don’t remember hearing about any imminent entries into NATO before the Russian invasion.

Could that rhetoric be a cover to hide the real reason for the invasion… to acquire the most fertile lands in Europe? Back during the Cold War, Ukraine provided over 25% of the Soviet Union’s food production. Maybe Russia is trying to ensure it can feed its people in a future famine.

If food shortage or famine were to occur, we would be caught completely off guard. Only a few people in the USA have experienced true famine. That’s something poor nations have to deal with, “it can’t happen here”.

If global famine were to occur, it’ll be up us to provide our own food. We will have to grow our own food, or live off our own stockpiles and hope things normalize. 

Economic Collapse

We may already be experiencing the beginning of such a collapse. The news media is abuzz with supply-chain shortages and inflation is spiraling out of control.

Covid-19 forced everything to pause and the economy hasn’t been able to recover from the consequences of that shut down. The workforce either died or decided it didn’t want to work anymore. To make up for the worker shortage, major companies started offering outrageous wages for unskilled laborers. These companies gave people who didn’t earn an advance degree $25 per hour, plus sign-on bonuses.

And don’t think there won’t be consequences to that! 

Gas prices were recently out of control and nobody seems to know why. Despite the fact they’ve been making record profits, the major oil companies tell us to believe them when they say they have “no control over the price of gas”. These same companies ARE NOT increasing production to help alleviate the pain at the pump either. They’ve been laying off employees, despite benefiting from governmental policies intended to promote job growth. 

That’s some trust-worthy behavior… 

Regardless of the industry, companies have to make money and woo investors. Those higher wages and fuel costs can’t affect the bottom line or it will spook investors. That means consumers have got to pay more to make up for the deficiencies. We’re already seeing higher prices in some products and the prices are only going to get higher. To make costs seem normal, companies are trying to trick us by using “shrinkflation”. 

Neo-Civil War 🔪 🗡 

Our country is split on ideals and morals, which somehow coincides with which party you vote for. Both parties have somehow convinced their followers they care about certain social issues, and most of us have swallowed that load of bull… hook, line, and sinker.

  • The Elephant Party panders to the moral or religious values of certain people, while the other claims to care about social reform. 
  • The Elephant Party claims to support independent and self-sufficient people, while claiming the other party wants to take freedoms away. 
  • The Jackass Party seems to tax and regulate everything, while the other party has historically been good for business. The fact the Elephants benefit from previous taxes imposed by the Jackasses is just an added bonus they’re working to repeal, but never get around to doing so. 
  • The Jackass Party appeals to those tired of endless mass-shootings and police brutality, while the followers of the Elephant Party are depicted as backwards or out of touch with the rest of the world. 
  • And Independents who agree with both sides on the major issues get demonized as racist or classist by Liberals, and branded as immoral or anti-business by Conservatives. 

A new civil war will pit us against each other. Old grudges will fuel a bloodlust of murders before local authorities can establish control. Communities will become isolated and those who don’t fit in will be ostracized, exiled, or killed. 

We will have to rely on ourselves for survival and we could be drafted to fight in a civil war we never wanted. Whoever controls the nuclear codes may decide to use them against our own people to stay in power. 

We are our own worst enemy.

Devastation to Orbital Infrastructure 🛰 

Something destroys all satellites and the resulting orbital debris makes it impossible to re-establish space-based services such as: GPS, internet, telecommunications, TV & radio broadcast, Spy Satellites, etc… This will affect society in different ways.


The first thing people will notice is the internet and GPS suddenly stopped working. Maps don’t exist anymore, so drivers will start getting lost when traveling to new destinations. Streaming services can’t function without the internet and people will have to find other sources of entertainment. Credit cards won’t work because POS terminals can’t verify the availability and transfer of funds.


The loss of internet and long-range communications means people can’t work and offices give their employees the day off. Eventually, the economy will collapse because almost every aspect of business is completely dependent on the internet.


Access to centralized or global news sources is cut off and disinformation is allowed to spread unchecked. As we saw in 2020, the lack of entertainment/work will cause all those idle hands to take their frustrations to the streets. Our civilization is already polarized and such a disaster could easily push us into a Neo-Civil War.

Natural Cosmic Event ☄️

An extinction-level event could come from space. An asteroid or comet could strike our planet and cause a new ice age. Crops won’t grow and the population will have to rely on greenhouses and UV or “grow” lamps to grow food. 

Those with alternative and renewable sources of electricity may be capable of surviving such an ice age. A possible government response to such global cooling is to give companies the freedom to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to PROMOTE global warming. 

After all, it’s terraforming. 

The possibility exists that our planet could be completely destroyed by a space object or event.

  • A massive interstellar asteroid moving at relativistic speeds could strike Earth and bust it like a bullet does fruit.
  • An in-conveniently directed gamma-ray burst could fry the planet to a crisp.
  • A black hole could enter the system and devour our planet or fling it out of orbit.
  • Hell, a Giant Space Fish could eat our biologically rich planet as a tasty snack before swimming off to the next star system.

Alien Invasion

There’s a vast universe out there. It’s ridiculous and a bit arrogant to think humanity is the only intelligent life in the entire universe. Should an alien civilization make “first contact” with us, we should look at human history to predict the outcome. Almost every time an advanced civilization encounters a lesser one, we’ve either exterminated or subjugated them.

Do these situations sound familiar? 

  • “Cowboys & Indians” (Native Americans)
  • Afro-Slavery 
  • Homo sapiens vs Neanderthals (theoretically)

Don’t believe all those Sci-Fi movies that show how lowly humans manage to repel the alien invasion, despite being ignorant to the sciences that drove the aliens to our planet. Any civilization capable of interstellar travel has a technological edge over us and an alien invasion would probably end with our extermination. 

Natural Disasters (Terrestrial)

Regardless of the natural disaster, history has proven we cannot rely on our own government to help us. 

It will be up to us to ensure our survival. 

Super Volcano 🌋 

Scientists have been telling us the super volcano under Yellowstone is overdue for a major eruption. If it were to blow, the dust ejected into the atmosphere will create a new ice age and cause famine. 

Earthquake 🌎 

A devastating earthquake could happen along a fault-line. The resulting devastation could destroy entire cities and ruin infrastructure. Entire industries will be affected and the supply chain may not be able to recover. 

Polar Reversal 🧲 

According to the latest science, the poles shift on average once every 300,000 years. We are long overdue for a polar flip because the last one happened about 700,000 years ago. 

Some scientists have reported that Earth’s EM field has been weakening over the past few years and think a flip may be eminent. Unfortunately, these flips don’t happen overnight. The EM field, which protects the planet from solar radiation can last decades or centuries[3]

With so much polar fluctuations, it stands to reason our entire navigation system may need to be updated to compensate for the chaos. Compasses will be useless because polar “North” or “South” could appear at multiple locations at the same time. 

Navigation Satellites may be affected as well. If not by the confusing polarities, then by the diminished protection from cosmic rays. The EM field protects those satellites in orbit as well and systems will begin to fail as the EM field weakens. 

Speaking of diminished protections…

With the EM Field being drastically weakened, it’s possible that going outside could be a hazard to your health. Partying on the beach could be a thing of the past. If this were to happen, a single day with “the guns out because the sun’s out” could cause cancer. Meaning, our health system will have to focus on treating various skin cancers.

Finding a date with perfect skin will be hard too.

People will be forced to move underground as they seek protection from the sun’s harmful rays. This won’t be practical for most people and those who aren’t prepared, will turn to the government for help. That government won’t be able to help everyone and people will start turning on each other for protection. 

Unda tha Sea 🌊

We know more about space than we do of what happens below the ocean’s surface.

Let that sink in.

We know more about objects that are billions of miles away, lightyears away, than what happens here on this planet. For all we know, there’s an advanced oceanic civilization below the depths and we won’t know it until they make contact or send their squid and octopus troops to attack!

Octopussy… ROFL!

The British recently announced that octopi are sentient creatures, and they’re masters of disguise. They’re so good at hiding, divers can swim right past without knowing. An oceanic empire employing the natural talents of octopi could easily disguise or camouflage their cities against land-based observation. 

Or, an underwater civilization could mirror the actions of most fish and sea animals. Their version of a city could be a fleet of migratory vessels. IF our sonar were to detect these “cities”, we’d assume they’re a pod of whales or a school of large fish. 

You know what…There MUST be a reason why North Korea keeps launching missiles into the ocean. Maybe they’re fighting a war against the Crustaceans and we don’t know about the war because of a massive international government conspiracy.

I just thought of this, but our government could be hiding vast underwater cities for our civilization’s elite. It’s possible, we’ve had the technology for half a century

Anyone remember SeaQuest DSV? Same concept.

Slow Flooding

The polar ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising as a result. We’re already seeing how this is flooding historic cities like Venice. As more coastal cities are inundated with water, populations will migrate to dryer lands. 

Larger nations can handle an exodus of large people. Look at how Poland is handling the over 5 million refugees. However, there are limits to how much a society can absorb. Such a migration caused by flooding of coastal cities will cause strain on infrastructure and grate on the tolerance of local communities. 

There will be a point when local communities say no more and start turning people away. Those refugees will have to move on to less developed or desirable lands. If they survive, they’ll have to live in tent-cities or shanty towns. They may even become completely dependent on the government for support. Crime will be rampant in these new ghettos.

Or they’ll ignore the wishes of locals and invade. We already see something like this in the form of homelessness. That’s probably what such an exodus will look like. 

There’s millions of acres of government land for people to evacuate to, but most of that land is undeveloped or completely uninhabitable. I expect the government to claim “Eminent Domain” on desirable private properties to support refugees before they develop government lands.

Civil unrest will ensue regardless of whether flood refugees remain homeless, move to shanty-towns, or the government takes control and reallocates lands. 


I don’t have a crystal ball telling me what will happen in the future, so I’m prepping as best I can for what I know I can prepare for. I admit to having a few personal favorites of what I think are more likely to cause a SHTF situation. I think an EMP attack is very likely, but also think it could be used as a “Pearl Harbor” to a third world war.

Of the other possible civilization-ending disasters, I believe that famine (all by itself) is the next likely situation we may face. We already see the signs of how climate change is making the breadbaskets of the world less reliable, or how we’ve been unable to export/distribute vital food resources, and there’s already supply shortages on certain foods.

One last thing. Survivalism is a serious subject for most preppers or people in our societal group. You can probably tell I had some fun with a few of these ideas. I did this because, all work and no play make Survivalist-Sam a dull-boy.

[1] Religion: It is not my goal to bash anyone’s individual beliefs. I believe in myself and things which can be proven. If you want to believe stories which, have been told and retold over thousands of years, which may have originated from someone tripping on hallucinogenic compounds… That’s your prerogative and I’ll thank you for keeping your hurt feelings to yourself.

Pray for me if you’d like, but use your inside voice.

[2] Other Gods: I’m an equal-opportunity kind of person, and don’t discriminate against religions or superstations. All of the activities listed as being done by the 3 major religions are historically accurate.

[3] Buis, A. (2021, August 3). Flip Flop: Why Variations in Earth’s Magnetic Field Aren’t Causing Today’s Climate Change. Retrieved from NASA: Global Climate Change:

2 thoughts on “Alternative SHTF Scenarios

  1. Wow this was actually a VERY good article/blog piece! Well stated scenarios, many of which were based on factual current events. And the hypotheticals were well stated. The entire article was well written and well organized. Kudos!


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