People can't seem to get enough of scaring others with the idea of the world coming to an end in a spontaneous cosmic event.
Though if one uses intelligence and known history, then a more comforting conclusion can be reached from current events:
The prophets from long ago were actually really good at predicting the general outlines of what would happen in the future, and modern psychics still are. But our lifestyles tend to dull our ability to seer as well as when the first prophets used the ability - we have infinitely more distractions, whereas the original prophets probably spent their entire lives comparing and confirming notes about what they saw when seer gazing.
One of the most common notes that the prophets wrote about was some kind of cosmic event that corresponded to the idea of a savior figure being re-incarnated - or at least this is what modern day people believe the prophets were writing about.
While there certainly is a significant cosmic event that happens every 2000 years, it's something that people have always understood how to handle, but people have either forgotten about it or the truth has been buried.
What I like to think is that there is a mixture of both:
Throughout the world religions there are books describing people that can do things considered miracles: healing powers, future visions, and weather control - the things that modern day psychics can actually do.
The cosmic event that the world is undergoing has always been understood to be connected to a star constellation called the "Cygnus" constellation, which contains a very intense energy source that bombards Earth more intensely every 2000 years. This cycle of intense energy bombardment may have been marked and kept track of with the popular Zodiac System - known as the twelve month system where each month corresponds to a star constellation.
This Zodiac System also corresponds to a type of galactic map of the Earth position in relation to the twelve constellations, divided into 2000 year periods. In the 2000-2012 time span, the Earth enters into the Aquarius position and leaves the Pieces position.
When the Earth was in the Pieces position, the savior figure was associated with a fish - as in "he fed the masses with two fish."
What is predicted to happen for this new 2000 year period is that the Earth is to enter the "Age of Aquarius."
The Cross of the Zodiac was used to mark the Earth's transition through these twelve periods - this is the cross which became the famous symbol for Christianity and other well known faiths (sometimes a different star was used, but the idea of a star marker meant to have the same significance).
Ancient people knew that when a new time period starts to happen, a mass awakening of new psychics would occur, healing the world with their new abilities - what we call Indigo children and Indigo adults. This is why the ancients celebrated the event and made the cross a holy symbol - its return literally meant the return of people with divine power.
And thus psychics will not just be older people who are in on the reality, but entire generations of people with psychic abilities.
What this means is that the phenomenon will no longer be hidden or considered esoteric, as it will be very apparent as a massive number of new psychics start awakening. And given the use of the Internet to spread news, this cycle will be extremely public in comparison to the modern efforts of psychology and other parties to suppress it.
And thus people will rejoice in the "return of the savior," in the form of children and older psychics that can heal their wounds and solve their problems with their abilities.
Of course, something else might happen...
The global warming phenomenon may indeed produce a world that can't support life, and this may be the "end" that prophets were predicting. It may be that simple, sadly.
While I prefer taking the positive route, as someone who appreciates science, I have to consider all possibilities.
So, could 2012 be the end? Possibly if too many people believe that it's going to be, then sure. If people keep taking Mother Earth for granted then yeah. This our home. Our houses shelter us, the earth supports us, but we haven't been doing a very good job of supporting her. We've forgotten that the Earth is a living entity and as a friend of mine once said if we keep treating her so badly and/or neglecting her, then her spirit/energy will move on. It's kind of like our physical bodies can die, so can Her physical body.
Sorry, I didn't mean to ramble. This is a touchy subject for me.