Just at the time the threat of a nuclear apocalypse was lifting, ecologists evolved their own expression of end times. Awareness of a looming disaster was triggered by Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring. This focussed on the threats from non-degrading biocides such as DDT. Popular opinion has caused this threat to be reduced. However other threats have been recognised – such as global warming, damage to the ozone layer, and exhaustion of fossil fuels. These threats are real, yet the ‘messages’ are built on foundations that owe everything to myths of the apocalypse.
If the interests of ecologists are largely at the expense of big business, then big business created an apocalyptic scare of its own, truly millennial in nature, when in the late 1990s the risk of widespread computer problems were envisaged if ‘bugs’ caused critical systems to fail in the first few hours of 1st January 2000. The ‘Y2K bug’ proved to be inconsequential. Some might say this was because of the vast sums of money spent to upgrade software and hardware, others that the risks were in many instances greatly exaggerated.