Planetary type: Earth-like word
Region: Communal Space - Solar System
Age: 4.54 billion years
Parent star: single G-class star.
Natural satellites: the single moon.
Surface gravity: 1 gee.
Atmosphere 1 atmosphere human-breathable.
Average temperature 16°C
Climate range: Hot arid to cold arid, with a supremacy of hot temperate climates.
Ecosystem classification: Carbon-based, fully formed, recovering from human-induced mass extinction.
Solar revolution length: 1 Earth year.
Day length: 24 hours.
Settlement Type: Planetary civilisation
Settlement age : 300,000 years.
Population: 4.89 billion.
Allegiance: USRE-Laniakea condominium.
Distance to Earth: Reference point.
Starports: Nana Buluku Orbital, Gaia Station, Space Elevator Terminal 1, Space Elevator Terminal 2, High Fleet Shipyards, Laniakea Alpha, Port Cyan.
The first thing that you noticed was gravity - higher than what you've known on space stations and outer planets, it drags you towards the ground, stopping every single one of your moves dead in its tracks before your body decides to go ahead anyway. Then you realized how hot and damp the air is around you, here on the equator, under the towering needle of the Kenyan space elevator. And then come the sounds, the words uttered in a thousand languages, the colours, brighter than the stars themselves, the trees growing through the buildings, the scent of spices, woods and animals...this is the Earth's embrace, like the arms of a distant and tired mother. You're home.
1 - The wounded world
Earth is not what it once was. The five hundred years of the Low Age have not been enough to repair the ecosystemic damage dealt to the planetary biosphere by the industrial era. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are still at a higher than normal level, and not expected to go back to pre-industrial levels until five to six thousand years. Biodiversity has fallen radically in many ecosystems to the point thousands of them have been deemed lost causes even for USRE environmental institutions with three hundred years of ecosystemic repair under their belt. Plastic waste still fills the ocean, trickling down through food chains all the way to humans. The Earth's average temperature has risen by four degrees celsius since the dawn of the industrial age. And so on and so forth - the legacy of the industrial age is one of long-term death and destruction.
With five billion inhabitants, the Earth represents more than 75% of the human population, yet living on Earth is to live on a frail, unstable world. Many regions near the equator bear temperature and moisture conditions that prevent human life during a non-negligible fraction of the year. Several "dead zones" fill the oceans where pollution and algal blooming have deprived entire underwater regions of oxygen. The ruins of industrial cities litter the continents. Early Low Age wars have weaponized the very ecosystems of the North American region. Ancient coastal cities are all but gone. Hundreds of hurricanes ravage littoral regions every year. Even in highly populated and relatively wealthy areas life is still fragile. The Earth is wounded.
2 - The universe-planet
To live on Earth is to live on a world of unparalleled social and cultural diversity. The heart of the Earth are the African and East-Asian regions: the former for having pioneered the renaissance of space travel in the late Low Age and the latter for harbouring the majority of the planet's population. None of these regions has truly managed to impose any kind of cultural hegemony on the planet, however. The two superpowers of the Earth, the USRE (United Socialist Republics of Earth) and the Laniakean communes are vast, relatively amorphous frameworks that never enforced any kind of soft or hard power supremacy. As a result, the Earth harbours a staggering number of distinct cultures, languages and religions that contrary to what can be found on foreign worlds have no common ancestors under the shape of the original colonists - the only shared influence Earth knows is the depth of human history. This truly is a key point of what it means to be Earthbound. There is no such thing as a single, unified Earth culture as there is an Eloran or even Martian culture. There is but diversity. All religions, all cultures, all traditions originate on Earth yet the planet isn't just a museum despite being littered with ruins. It's a living cultural organism. A universe-planet. A cradle.
3 - Ad Astra, per Aspera
It is somewhat of an understatement that Earth as a whole has a complicated relationship to the other planets and interstellar space in general. The reconquest of space started in western Africa, yet as time passed the Moon Communes have largely taken over the role of precursors of interstellar flight in the collective consciousness of human space. For a long time indeed leaving the Earth was a complex endeavour - after all, in order to reach low earth orbit, a spacecraft has to expend more delta-v than to reach any point in the solar system from low earth orbit. This technical obstacle has vanished since the construction of Earth's twin space elevators in the Philippines and alongside the Kenyan shore but a strange barrier remains between Earthlings and outer space. Earth might be wounded, Earth might still be recovering from the worst environmental catastrophe in history, but Earth is still so much more in the eyes of its inhabitants than the settlements dotting the stars. One could spend an entire life without ever leaving the embrace of the Earth and yet remain ignorant of entire worlds and cultures existing on the planet. Such is the lure of the Earth, such is the power that still exists within humankind's old, battered home: the sheer diversity of humanity.
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