For some reason, people are total masochists when it comes to movies. We love to be scared by horror films, have our hearts race during action movies, and for end of the world apocalyptic ones, somehow we look forward to watching the world fall. But when it comes to Netflix’s newest disaster film, you have to wonder if How It Ends could really happen in real life. Like other movies of its genre, the premise is relatively simple.
In the movie, there’s a catastrophic natural event that happens in California which sets off a string of similar environmental disasters across the country, with no real answers as to why it happened or how and when it will end. In the trailer for the movie, you see power outages across the United States as well as strange weather and animal patterns and towns covered in what looks like ash.
Like other end of the world films, such as 2012 (which freaked me out too much at the time to actually go to the theater and see) it makes you wonder if there isn't some truth to these possible theories for the end of days. I’m not sure if everything about the movie is totally realistic, but it isn't totally out of the realm of possibilities for a wave of natural disasters to suddenly hit, leading to a state of chaos across the world.
For years, melting ice caps and glaciers has been a concern for scientists and citizens of the world alike. In 2009, The Guardian reported that because of climate change and these melting caps, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and even avalanches can be triggered. "Not only are the oceans and atmosphere conspiring against us, bringing baking temperatures, more powerful storms and floods, but the crust beneath our feet seems likely to join in too," Professor Bill McGuire, the director of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at the University College London said at the time. "Maybe the Earth is trying to tell us something."
According to the L.A. Times, there are a number of natural disasters or phenomenons that are directly linked to climate change and global warming. With dryer soil because of global warming, Benjamin Bond-Lamberty, an ecosystem ecologist with the Joint Global Change Research Institute, said that there’s a greater chance of more wildfires. "Fires tend to be associated with hotter drier weather, everything else being equal," he said.
Because of sea levels rising as a result of global warming, there’s also an increased probability of storm surges during hurricanes, which occur naturally, climate change or not. But Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at MIT, told the L.A. Times that climate change can also alter the amount of rainfall that comes with hurricanes, so chances are hurricanes can eventually become even more dangerous than they already are.
It's probably not possible that all of these natural disasters could happen all at one time, like in How It Happens, and send a wave of fires, drought, pollution, and power outages across the country. But since climate change and global warming are very real, it seems possible that these natural disasters are part of what leads to tougher times for our environment.
I also can't help but wonder how much How It Happens is backed by any science, since it seems like the kind of action-packed apocalyptic movie that exists purely for the entertainment value. But like its predecessors, it’s bound to cause a little bit of panic and concern for viewers. So while I wouldn't worry about the events of the movie coming true, I can't rule it out either.