THe world before it ended - a glimpse back in history
To understand how we, in the year 2209, ended up in the situation we’re currently in today, many scholars are convinced that it’s crucial to have a historical perspective of society’s development that took place for the past five centuries. Many of these scholars talk of the origin of this period being the industrial revolution, at the end of the 18th century, making it’s way through the western world, when the agricultural society turned into the industrial society. A lot of people saw their opportunity to gain a better standard of living, and objectors to the industrial techniques were few. Investments in steam-powered ships, railroads or other means of transport added to the spreading of the industrial revolution all over Europe, and soon the entire world.
A consequence to all of this, was a big part of the population transferring from countryside into cities, and this increasing access of uneducated workforce put high demands on the planning and economy of society. It didn’t take long before the departments responsible for this planning realized that a growing population of this magnitude was not of splendor alone, and in many cases a dilemma surfaced, of how many citizens a society could hold before collapsing. An issue long discussed.
During the industrial revolution the natural science started to uncover knowledge of electricity, energy sources and thermodynamics, and overall people gained a better position economically and a greater opportunity to education, at least in the cities. All this made a technological revolution possible, characterized by electronics and the usage of electricity. The market broadened by free trade in between countries, which led to more advanced products and services being developed and becoming available to the masses. Continuous productions of cars begun, and the workers got increasingly specific task assignments and abilities, which later was named “the conveyor belt principle”. This principle would come to be used by organizations and businesses with a high level of specialization. This conveyor belt principle laid way for a high tempo of production and gave great economical profits compared to rivaling companies who did not apply the same methods. This tactic was founded on an authoritarian hierarchy with a firm management and lots of workers who performed predetermined tasks with no insight in the decisions made within the company, this proved to be very lucrative. It improved the standard of living which added to - among other things - more children being born. The increasing population was significant in many locations for decades to come. This meant more mouths to feed and more people to employ. Many believed that the technological revolution would mean that individuality would benefit, but to their surprise the opposite happened. The worth of an individual decreased and instead each person’s worth was measured through the work they contributed along with the masses. Special knowledge and abilities was valued in a way so that each work task nowadays was very specific, but this value was at the same time paradoxical since no work task really required a special competence and therefore could be performed by anyone.
It didn’t take long before this new regard of trade and result started to affect how society viewed politics and public governance, also within other areas than production, and in the end of the 22nd century the thought of individuals as a concept was lost. Many professions that previously meant having a broad knowledge within said trait was now more segregated within each organization, for example a mechanic no longer had any basic knowledge of machinery, but was specialized to only handling one specific part of one machine. This meant that general occupational titles like “mechanic” or “carpenter” was viewed as old fashioned and unspecific, while titles like “scuttle-mechanic” or “threshold-fitter” was considered more appropriate.
This gave many a sense of insignificance in society, and led to many people escaping in buying products and experiences. Mass consumerism created an increasing demand and production, which in time enhanced the global economy further. The struggle of which country could offer wares to the lowest price would come to exploit and impoverish the natural resources, that in many places of the world was already running out. To be able to keep up the pace of production that was requested, the fastest and most greedy companies took control over previously protected natural sightings, and soon everything that was once rain- and mangrove forests was nothing but memory. This type of exploitation meant great consequences for the biodiversity, and when necessary life such as pollinators and other insects were pushed aside this quickly led to impoverishment of the soil.
The fields got no opportunity to recovery since also the climate was heavily affected by the progression of humanity. Extreme weather phenomena was not unusual, sun storms, floods, massive hailstorms and devastating hurricanes were common and many areas were eventually as good as uninhabitable. The people who previously had lived on the countryside and that to some extent farmed the land experienced an increasing difficulty to make a living on what the fields had to offer. Around year 2120 the countryside was as good as desolate. Knowledge of farming and managing cattle was soon lost during this extreme urbanization. And it didn’t take long before simple knowledge such as how a potato is seeded was regarded as quite exotic. When food, as a result to this, became scarce in the cities one could think that it would be reasonable to recapture this knowledge, and at all costs try to produce something edible, but city living had turned most people passive and therefore the natural reaction was to suffer in silence and wait for the food coupons that the government handed out from time to time.
This extreme urbanization first advanced in poorer countries, which added to said nations’ economical dependence, but even within these countries conflicts had started to stir. For too long there’d been an exploitation of the weaker groups in society, regarding workforce and access to health care, but not until food production - and soon the access to clean freshwater - subsided, people got fed up. The more scarce the resources became, the more desperation increased, and in the end concrete conflicts were unavoidable. In many places, civil wars as well as wars between countries and nations were in full rage. Bigger nations didn’t shy away from using nuclear weapons, and to this day huge areas exist where only zoon-runners may travel without succumbing to harm from radiation. As to be expected, the wars meant that big parts of the population perished, many as a result from simpler reasons like lack of hygiene and spreading of diseases. These conflicts that came to be called The Green Wars, is by today’s scholars believed to have taken place around the period 2160-2209 when the human race had all but annihilated itself. The ones who are still alive have with greatest probability lived a hard life which has featured war, starvation and conflicts.
The biggest contributing factor to the initiation of The Green Wars is without a doubt the reoccurring collapses within the countries’ economical systems. The tulip mania, which is said to be the worlds first speculation bubble (1630 a.d.) caused great problems in Europe when it occurred. To map out the specific reasons to an economic collapse is hard, and many experts agree that several factors are most likely involved, but that in most economical crashes throughout history both political and economical causes played their part. Constant deficit of trade, wars, revolutions, starvation, depleting of resources as well as steadily indicating hyperinflation through history has contributed to creating vulnerability in the monetary systems. When such a system fails, social chaos often follow, along with civil disobedience and a regress within law and order, which in turn gives more consequences for the individual and society both in the present as well as in the long run. An economical collapse can vary between several economic prerequisites, from long great depressions where big companies go bankrupt with high unemployment rates as a result, to lesser events following hyperinflation.
The uranium crisis
Year 1789 the radioactive metal Uranium was discovered, which in some forms had the ability to produce energy through fission without creating a chain reaction. By building power plants with moderators containing heavy water or graphite, one could use natural uranium as fuel, which was a cheap and effective method to produce big amounts of energy.
At the start of the 21st century a new method for obtaining Uranium was created, and the access to this was basically unlimited. Lots of national states therefore put great effort into this type of energy supply, and electricity was something that 95 % of earths population had access to it to some degree. Because of this the standard of living rose quickly around the world, and to most people the access to clean water, warm homes and lit streets was a fact of life, even in poorer countries.
50 years after uranium entering the market disaster struck - the first of many occurences - which would later be described as a cause to The Green Wars. The global farming company FCSI was more interested to make great profits than deciding around security, and the result to this was emissions that affected the uranium. On one hand, it worked as a detonator to the fission, this started a reaction in the plutonium-depots that until now had laid dormant just below the uranium-layers and together they created a fission-fusion-fission-reaction. The power from such a reaction had been demonstrated in 1945 when an atomic bomb by the name of Little Boy was dropped over Hiroshima and destroyed the entire area. The only reason for FCSI, along with this emission, didn’t create a completely uninhabitable planet was that the metal depots were so far below the surface. Though in many places the soils became useless and the watercourses became vaguely radioactive.
Since society was to be runned by uranium power, huge parts of the world’s electricity supply went out fast when the depots exploded. After a week the electricity reserves were empty and important functions of society in less prioritized areas were shut down. Private households, shops and many hospitals went without power, which affected peoples lives drastically. Since the small production of electricity still functioning went to the most prioritized members of society, social gaps grew fast between people with different social and economical belonging. A simple thing such as heat, being able to flush the toilet or heating water for an infant quickly became a big challenge for great parts of the population all over the World. To not have access to Clean and hot water made it hard for many to keep up the same standard of hygiene as before, and sickness rates grew dramatically because of this.
Production of wares and food decreased rapidly, and logistic chains were affected. Soon the global economy which had been built through the past centuries was set back heavily, and wares that was previously imported soon became exotic and valuable. After a few years, very few people from the lower conditions of income had tried an orange. In a Norwegian city a conflict rose that would be known as “the Norwegian citrus fight” when a sack of lemons at one point was transported between the Harbor and the more refined areas of the town. Stories are told of a childrens toy getting stuck to a sack that was transported in what was turning into Norways biggest slum, and when the sack tore open five lemons fell out. The people - as if obserssed - threw themselves after the yellow fruits. They fouhgt, tooth and nail, as if their lives depended on it, and when the commotion died out, seven people had been crushed under the masses. This incident became widely discussed and led to one of Sweden’s first government based initiatives in a long time: the startup of greenhouses for exotic fruit, more particularly pineapple.
The pineapple houses got their inspiration from the geothermal green houses on Iceland, meaning the Island’s subsistance of bananas, coffe and tomatoes. They placed their green houses over hot steaming springs that were located across the Island, and therefore managed to keep a tropical and self-sufficient climate, favouring those crops. At the time of the uranium-incident, chemical reactions were created deep beneath the surface. This caused a radioactive reaction, generating heat and pressure. The pineapple greenhouses were placed in the proximity of these pressure valves that were installed to “air out” the underground uranium depots, still reacting, therefore hindering pressure rising too high. This turned out to be a very sufficient method and the pineapple harvest turned out enormous year after year. In many areas pineapple was the cheapest provision at the market, and few are those who has not been forced to survive of it from time to time. Today only a few of those pineapple green houses still produce fruit, but there are still huge storages of canned and dried pineapple left. A can of pineapple is no bigwig on the dinnertable, and it’s happily traded for almost anything, but for the one who has no other means to feed themselves, it at least fulfills its purpose.