Earth

From Baystation 12
Jump to: navigation, search
Earth
List of Colonies
NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise.jpg
View of Earth from Luna. This photograph was taken on December 24, 1968
Faction Sol Central Government
System Sol
Population 4,371,022,189
Coordinates (LY) 0X, 0Y

History

The two major powers of the First Cold War, the Soviet Union, and United States of America, were the first to send men and women into space. During the interbellum, many states, and one of Earth’s first attempts at a world government, the United Nations, contributed to the exploration of space. By the time the first habitats were constructed on the moon in the 2030s, the Second Cold War had begun, and smaller conflicts contributed to global instability. As the effects of population and industry on the environment worsen, many states begin to retreat inwards, or collapse entirely. While the United Nations attempts to maintain some manner of control, it fully collapses shortly after the first Mars landings in 2052. Those countries that can afford space exploration dwindle, and corporations, as well as wealthy private citizens fund the majority of space travel.

While the Russian Federation and United States of America continue to posture, civil unrest and terrorism are omnipresent in both states, and a dwindling amount of influence on the world stage fans fears that the war will go hot in an attempt to hold onto remaining power. However, in 2064, the sudden collapse of the great balancing power at the time, the People’s Republic of China, meant that a hot war would never occur. Instead a humanitarian crisis on a scale never before seen on Earth crashes over the remaining states. Ecological devastation drives many out of Southeast Asia, causing a collapse of many Asian and European states as refugees flood past border controls. The remaining states isolate themselves, resorting to martial law or collapsing. Starvation is common as the hunger years reach their peak. Space travel is almost entirely left to corporations as governments grope for what resources are left. The depletion of fossil fuels limits travel, and most scientific advancement focuses on food growth and energy production.

As food resources stabilize in the 2070s due to a growing agricultural industry in Africa, few remaining powers hold sway, and none on the level of the old hegemonies. The Second Cold War has effectively ended due to a change of government in Russia, and the separation of american states. A concerted effort is made to resume space exploration, and with the assistance of corporations, a small union of states begins to send more and more humans into space. Life on Earth is hard, and often short. While technological advances have allowed some corporations to prosper, many suffer in slums, and the bottom levels of society. A global population of well over ten billion has forced concentration, building upwards, and packing more tightly.

Finally, as improvements in power generation and genetically modified foodstuffs allow an increase in quality of life, states begin to right themselves. Fusion generators allow cheaper, almost limitless energy, and unlock the door for more powerful engines. Cybernetic augmentation becomes more common, allowing humans to more effectively perform in tasks ranging from industrial to military. With many leaders remembering the strife of the 21st century, a push is made for a combined goal, as a species, not just as individual nation-states. The Terran Commonwealth is founded in Geneva in 2130, seated in the old houses of power, and makes its objective clear: spread to the stars, or perish.

Originally composed of states ranging from Asia to America, the Commonwealth slowly consolidates its power. Member states agree to give up autonomy in exchange for security, a rare commodity in the 2100s. Other holdouts are swayed with promises of economic wealth, or cowed with the threat of being cut out of the world economic order. By 2176, the majority of the remaining nation-states are part of the Commonwealth, with approximately two dozen remaining independent.

While the Commonwealth pushes back out into the solar system, the scope of the environmental catastrophe on Earth becomes more clear. Large swathes of Asia are still devastated by the remains of failed nuclear power plants, destroyed dams, and mass migration. Climate change has made deserts grow, and sea levels rise. Coastal cities like New York, Venice, and Mumbai, have been flooded and abandoned to squatters and looters. Others, like Los Angeles and St. Petersburg have survived by expanding further inland. The Commonwealth’s states and provinces range from barely stable to completely lawless, with many areas still having no government control. While the Commonwealth’s priority was moving population off of Earth, work needed to be done to forestall disaster at home.

The Terran Commonwealth, attempting to simultaneously bring prosperity to the ruined places of the Earth, and to provide sustainable living for those remaining on Earth begin a massive series of construction and development projects. Arcologies were the first priority, in order to concentrate the population, and provide more sustainable options for living. While some existing megacities were developed upwards, this process tended to be prohibitively expensive, and as a result, many cities developed outwards, with construction of new, planned sections being used to employ much of the population, and the older parts of cities slowly being abandoned and demolished. Many completely new cities were built as well, either taking advantage of new land, or springing up out of necessity. The most important of these during the early reconstruction was New Benin. Situated hundreds of miles from its original namesake, New Benin was planned by the Terran Commonwealth as the site of the first space elevator built by mankind.

Construction of the elevator began in 2141, and by the time it was complete in 2193, New Benin had sprouted around it. Rising out of the jungles of the Congo, the city was a triumph of sustainable engineering, built in concentric circles around the elevator, the city was split into layers, with large high rises connected to interconnected platform layer at approximately the 80 story mark. Following suit, many of the other rebuilt and newly constructed arcologies adopted a similar “megacity” design with dense vertical development, and massive suspended platforms connected to the skyscrapers.

Other, smaller cities used more compact designs when rebuilding, but maintained the same environmentally neutral mindset, producing no waste that can’t be used, and producing enough food to sustain its population. A few cities that had been partially or completely flooded, such as Los Angeles and Saint Petersburg abandoned the remaining areas left habitable by levees and pumps, and instead began to build floating structures, coexisting with the risen ocean instead of battling against it.

In orbit, extensive construction moved not only a significant portion of the population into space, but also the majority of industry and manufacturing. Spacecraft were built at a rapid pace, fueling a boom in space travel and commerce.

The Colony Conflicts allow the Commonwealth to further solidify its control on Earth. Holdout states are further marginalized, with resources being secured for “security purposes,” and by the time the war is over, there are no states that remain unincorporated.

Growth only continued during and after the Conflict, warfare is always good for business, and after the victory of the Commonwealth over the martian powers, Earth had full control over Sol. With increased wealth and power comes increased prosperity.

When Project Ptolemy was launched in the mid-24th century, Earth was beginning to heal. While hundreds of cities had been abandoned and demolished, dozens of new cities were built, or constructed on top of the old. A major depopulation had occurred in the countryside, leaving many areas desolate, to be slowly reclaimed by nature.

While many took advantage of the Terran Commonwealth’s colonization programs, and then the offworld housing and employment programs of SolGov, some did remain on Earth. The reasons for staying were as unique as they were for leaving, some religious groups considered Earth sacred ground, and leaving to be against the plan of some deity or another, separatist groups formed independent communities, attempting only to live on their own, unbothered by the government, and others still simply saw Earth as their true home, and made it their mission to reclaim it from the concrete and plastic debris of past centuries.

After the transition of government from the Terran Commonwealth to the Sol Central Government, and the movement of the capital to Mars, the question of government came up again. Instead of being treated like a Colony, or a Solar member of the SCG, much of the Terran Commonwealth’s governing structure was kept in place. The remaining fragments of old nation-states are completely removed, and territory was split into administrative provinces, all under the auspices of the “Protectorate of Earth.” This new government, while having the trappings of a democratic government, was tasked primarily with returning Earth to its former ecological glory, with the eventual goal of making Earth a beautiful garden, for all humanity to enjoy.

Today, the total population on Earth sits at about 3 billion, with almost another billion in orbit spread across thousands of space stations. Multiple corporations jockey for terraforming contracts, working to decontaminate any remaining dead zones, and repair environmental damage. Some areas have returned to levels not seen since the 18th century, and global temperatures have begun to fall. Thanks to a concerted effort, the ice caps have partially returned, though sea levels remain high. Almost the entire population is concentrated in arcologies, with smaller towns, research stations, and compounds few and far between. Homeworld tourism has begun to increase as areas are reclaimed, and archaeological societies continue to preserve what remains of the cities and monuments of the old world. While not the center of human society, Earth has, and always will have, a special place in the cultural identity of humankind.