Part of the Star Sailors Series
Created by the Alliance of Droids - allianceofdroids.org.au/aod
One only has to look at the way Neanderthals died out to understand the horror humans have brought to our lovely Earth. In 4 short centuries after the Space Age, the Earth had become inhabitable. Billions of people died, and only 80000 people were known to have survived.
Global warming was not the real reason why the Earth became deserted. But it certainly did create a panic, and everyone began hoarding resources in case the unthinkable happened - we ran out of fossil fuels. Because of this, the Earth ran out of resources incredibly quickly, and battles started to gain resources.
These battles quickly became wars. No country was neutral, and every country passed conscription laws - 90% of the adult population (anyone over the age of 14) had to be signed up for the country's army. Those that could not fight were to teach children how to fight for their country, or to cultivate resources.
In 2100, the Earth's population was 14 billion. In 2250, the population was less than 2 billion. In 150 years of war, famine and disease, 12 billion people had died. China, India & Russia lost the most, as the former USA, Australia & British Empire (consisting of South Africa, Portugal, France & Spain) targeted those countries with nuclear weapons.
The fallout, lasting another 50 years, killed all but 80,000 citizens of the Earth. These citizens suffered from a genetic defect that gave them increased risks of Parkinson's disease but would remove - or at least significantly reduce - the threat of radiation to their bodies. However, the defect wouldn't protect those citizens for ever, with the amount of radiation being pumped into their bodies it was only a matter of time.
Those 80,000 citizens formed a peace treaty and searched for a way to either fix the Earth or get away from it altogether. The results from their calculations were not good - it would take 300 years before the Earth would become habitable again, with no risk of radiation affecting humans.
You may think that with 150 years of war, scientific knowledge would have stalled, even declined, but each nation used their scientific knowledge to their advantage, to create bigger and better weapons. Some key discoveries were made along the way, including interstellar travel.
Humans had long held an ambition to colonize Mars, but apart from Mars One's successful return pre-colonization mission in 2033, humans had been distracted for hundreds of years by fighting themselves. Mars was the most Earth-like planet in the solar system, but since 1990 thousands of exo-planets, or extra-solar planets, had been found. There were many Earth-like planets that had been discovered, and the surviving Earthlings wanted to colonize them all.It would be a long and hazardous journey, but the next stage of humanity's evolution had begun.