The most populous human planet in the Federation, Earth is the seat of UCF power and the home to nearly ten billion people. It has a wide range of natural resources and has a vastly higher ratio of citizens over civilians than any sanctioned colony in existence. Most of the important traditions of government occur on Earth, including the inauguration of Federation leaders and the rite of office held to recognise the authority of new Sky Marshals-in-Chief.
Earth after the Disorders
The time of the Disorders had not been good to the Earth. The widespread, even casual use of nuclear and biological weapons by the superpowers of the Disorders had left large tracts of once fertile land poisoned and dead. The population of the planet, after reaching a peak of more than eight billion people in the 21st Century, had fallen to slightly more than two billion, the grisly toll exacted by decades of unconventional warfare.
The first mission of the newly renamed Citizens’ Federation was clear. Now that there was peace across the face of the Earth, now that humanity was united as never before, it was time to tend to the people, the citizens and civilians who had suffered so much for so long. It was time to provide homes for all, health care for all, employment for all and hope for all. To do anything else would be to betray the Federation’s dream of equal opportunity for all.
Most of the founders had retired from public service by this time but the second generation of Federation leaders leapt on the project with gusto. Poverty, hunger, ignorance, illness, all were as prevalent then as they had been at any time in history. Of all of these, the greatest enemy and most immediate danger was hunger.
The Disorders had left much of Earth’s farmland useless and decimated herds of livestock until some were very nearly endangered species. With all conventional means of producing enough food to feed its population rendered untenable, the government of the Citizens’ Federation turned to science. By pouring resources into the problem, the Federation pioneered new methods of hydroponic and closed-system agriculture and even toyed with the creation of underground farms. The result was by no means ideal but it was enough to keep the population fed while the government searched for better answers. Once the necessity of feeding its population was attended to, the Federation shifted part of its focus to the other problems plaguing the ravaged Earth and its people. Massive governmental housing and employment programmes were instituted, ensuring that any citizen or civilian with the willingness to work would have a roof over his head and a means of putting food on the table for his family.
Disease walks hand in hand with war and, despite the impressive medical knowledge available at the time of the Federation’s founding, plague and sickness were still awful realities in many places on the Earth, where disease had reigned unchecked since the time of the Disorders. Most of these were places traditionally considered the Third World, where even the most basic of services, such as fresh water, refrigeration and sewage facilities, were in short supply or altogether nonexistent. Food, housing and employment, while welcome, were of little use to a region ravaged by one of the loathsome, genetically engineered plagues set free during the Disorders. Thus the Federation instituted Project Schweitzer, perhaps the most ambitious public works programme to date.
Project Schweitzer, named for a doctor who lived in the time before the Disorders, had the daunting mission of providing health care access to every man, woman and child living on the planet. In the remaining cities, this was fairly simple but in order to ensure global access, the Federation Health Council, part of the larger bureaucracy of the newly established Social Services, had to expand its thinking. People living in the cloud-wrapped peaks of the Himalayas, in the steaming jungles of Africa and South America, in the frozen expanse of Siberia and the Yukon, all were entitled to health care access under the aegis of the Federation Health Council. In some of these places, the people were so remote they had not yet even heard of the Federation but they were considered civilians nonetheless and all were thus entitled to the same rights as those civilians living in Geneva or Beijing.
Only slightly less ambitious in scale than Project Schweitzer, primarily because it was not considered quite so time critical, was the Federation’s massive education initiative. Just as all citizens and civilians living beneath the rule of the Federation would be entitled to health care, employment and housing, so too would they all be entitled to an education. Essentially, the Federation Education Council, another face of Social Services, had the same job ahead of it as did the Federation Health Council with Project Schweitzer, in that it was entrusted with the task of creating new schools accessible to every child in the Federation.
One added wrinkle in the Federation’s education plan was the problem of teachers and language barriers. In many regions of the world most in need of these new schools, the same ‘Third World’ areas where basic health facilities were so rare, the language spoken by the people was once for which the Federation had few, if any, fluent teachers. Rather than face the complicated task of allocating teachers to different regions of the world, then instructing all of them in the language indigenous to whichever region they had been assigned, the Federation chose a more difficult and yet much more simple path. As the majority of the Federation’s founders and current rulers were native English speakers (and those who were not were fluent) and the Federal Constitution was penned in English, the Federation took the next logical step by declaring English the official language of the Federation. From that point forward, all schoolchildren were required to learn English, and access to Federation services, while strictly speaking still available to anyone, was all but impossible to receive without some degree of proficiency in English.
When discussing the massive public works initiatives of the Citizens’ Federation in its formative years, it is important to remember the difficulty faced by the new government in working equally across old borders that had existed for centuries or millennia, borders that in many cases had been fought over with such awful frequency the blood had soaked down to the bedrock.
Faced with the advent of world government, many of the people of these former nations worried about homogenisation, that they would lose their distinct cultural identities or worse, that they would be folded in with the population of a former rival nation. Just as difficult as Project Schweitzer had been, so was convincing the people of the Earth that the Federation intended to do no such thing. It was part of the mission of the Citizens’ Federation to provide housing, to provide health care, to provide employment, to provide education. However, the cornerstone of the Citizens’ Federation was, and still is, personal responsibility. The government merely provided these services. Whether or not to accept them was up to the individual.
It would be a mistake to think the Citizens’ Federation was able to accomplish any of these massive projects overnight. Even with the full support of the government behind them, they took decades to complete. However, even before such endeavours as Project Schweitzer were even halfway completed, their influence could be felt. In a matter of just a few years, the Citizens’ Federation was able to take a poisoned and diseased planet with a weary but hopeful population and create what was by comparison a near-utopia. There was, however, one major drawback to an increasingly healthy, educated and productive populace. They were reproducing too quickly.
The population of Earth, reduced to a mere two billion by the end of the Disorders and the rise of the Federation, began to explode, adding an additional 500 million people within just three decades. The spectre of hunger, barely beaten back by the best science the Federation was able to marshal to the problem, began to return.
In response to this looming crisis, the Federation instituted several new measures designed to stave off the problem, from the reproductive limitation of two children per family still in existence today to various food rationing programmes that proved exceedingly unpopular. Ultimately, however, Federation scientists realised these steps were nothing but temporary patches on a very real problem, a problem that could only be solved in one way – the Federation had to find new sources of food.
The first and most immediate stumbling block was where to look for this food. The Federation’s best efforts had only managed to restore small tracts of arable land, only tangentially damaged during the Disorders. Several members of the Federal Council advocated the clearing and farming of the planet’s remaining rain forest areas but the ecological devastation wreaked during the Disorders had offered final and overwhelming proof of the fragility of life on Earth, and all measures that were introduced to allow for such clearcutting and farming were resoundingly defeated. Still, the Federation knew something had to be done to resolve the problem, and quickly. The measures to limit childbirth and ration food had been enough to buy the government a few decades but no more, and the leaders of the Federation knew in their hearts that a government that could not provide for its people had no more right to rule than the corrupt institutions the founders of the Federation had torn down to build a better world. Even putting aside such assumptions, the leaders also knew there was nothing more dangerous to a government than a hungry populace and deserving or not, they could well find themselves the target of a starving population incited to riot by the rumbling in their bellies.
It was a problem that seemed impossible, and it was one that would require an innovative solution.
Except for a few halfhearted efforts during the brief periods of peace, the space programmes of the old powers of the old world had lain dormant since the beginning of the Disorders. A return to space had been part of the Federation agenda since the time it was formed – the founders knew the destiny of humanity was not confined to a single small sphere in the vastness of the galaxy – but any thoughts of revitalising the space programmes left behind by the defunct superpowers like the Russo-Anglo-American Alliance, the European Alliance or the Chinese Hegemony had, quite logically, been trumped by the far more immediate and down-to-Earth concerns of creating a stable world first.
Now that stable world had been created, filled with a population that was rapidly breeding itself out of food. The Federation had drawn up a tentative timetable to restore to habitability all the lands that had been poisoned by the Disorders (a timetable that is still ongoing) but the process was exceptionally slow, far too slow to keep ahead of the ever-increasing demand for more food.
Thus, the Federation combined its goals of returning to space with its need to solve a growing problem. It may have looked at first glance like a desperate gamble but it was really the only option available. In order to feed its people, the Federation needed to look outside the planet.
The return to space was not an easy task. The Federation decided to consolidate all the remnants of the former space programmes at the massive facility in Kazakhstan and created a single governmental agency, the Federal Stellar Authority, to oversee its efforts to bring humanity to the stars. Considering the burgeoning population of the Federation, the Federal Council knew that, in addition to more food, it would soon need to find additional living space for its people. The two needs, interconnected as they were, could be solved together.
In recent events of Operation Meggido, the UCF's capital and homeworld of the human race fell to Progenitor forces. Federal Scientists believe Earth will never be truly home to the human race again after the Progenitor menace caused havoc on the once green planet.