Prepping or partying for the end of the world


Joyanne Pursaga | QMI AGENCY

WINNIPEG - Will you stock up on toilet paper or bread Dec. 21 like any other day?

There are a spectrum of responses to fears Friday will mark the end of the world.

So-called "preppers," for example, don't necessarily believe the world will end Dec. 21 but stock up on supplies for any potential disaster.

One planner said she moved to rural Manitoba from Calgary because she felt safer in a place where she could live off the land during an emergency.

The prepper, who asked to only be called Sherry, said the desire began in 1998, when her friend lost power for six weeks in a Quebec ice storm.

Sherry has stocked up 60 pounds of flour and sugar, along with enough food to feed her family for days during a disaster.

"As we've seen with superstorm Sandy, these things are happening more and more," she said.

Guy McDowell, owner of the website, agrees.

"I plan for things that have a statistical likelihood of happening," he said. "Let's say the world did all but end tomorrow. If I was fortunate, or unfortunate enough, to be one of the survivors, I'd be more ready than others."

McDowell said if he were stranded by a natural disaster in his Nova Scotia home, he could feed his family of three for a few weeks.

Toby Rutner, a Winnipeg psychologist, said those who go further to predict disaster at a specified time may find comfort in the prediction, which gives order to an unpredictable universe.

"To many people, the world is a scary place and it's frightening that the world can go on randomly," said Rutner. "Their predictions give them understanding and control."

Rutner said the motivation to explain and organize the world is common to all belief systems, including those based on religious convictions.

He notes social pressure may keep some doomsday believers silent.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, others use the 21st as an excuse to party.

Apocalypse 2012: The End of the World Party at the Assiniboine Gold Club will be put on by the Winnipeg Skeptics, who are 100% sure the world will be little changed before Dec. 22.

"People predict the apocalypse all the time! Given the absolutely staggering number of actual end of the world predictions that have come and gone uneventfully (including at least a dozen in the last decade alone), I think that we're pretty safe," said organizer Gem Newman.

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