As Al Gore told us way back in — when was it? — our insatiable desire for cheap energy hurt us in the long run. Fossil fuels got scarce, and the world’s climate shifted a few degrees. The laws of supply and demand may have actually saved us, though, because just before we reached the point of global sterilization, a tank of gas cost two weeks’ wages and people just stopped driving. The scientists and activists were able to push through enough emergency measures to miraculously stabilize things, but a lot of damage had already been done. It just stopped getting worse.
In short, the seas have risen.
What had once been New York City is now a mess of skyscrapers and skyscraper debris sticking up out of the ocean. The redwood forests of northern California are now the Red Glades, hulking husks of rotting trees whose poison leaches into the saltwater at their bases. Bangladesh is gone. The Netherlands have survived, thanks to a thirty-foot high dam that extends for miles to replace the fairy-tale dikes. Japan is now an archipelago of small islands instead of an archipelago of large ones.
This geographical change has affected the politics of the world, but the famine/plague combo went deeper. Since then, Earth’s human population has balanced out at around a billion (which, as it turns out, is a lot easier for the planet to manage.) Lots of population centers have moved, and more of them have disappeared. Denver is the biggest metropolitan area on the planet, serving as the new tech mecca and the capital of the Republic of America. All of the existing Nations have been affected.
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