01 The Fire and the Flood
For decades, scientists warned humankind about the dangers of global warming. Their models spoke of tipping points; thresholds that, once passed, would trigger irreversible changes to Earth's most vital life support systems.
Society had a choice: some businesses and governments changed their policies and practices in an effort to stem the tide, but many members of the public didn't listen to facts and refused to change their behavior. The climate changed faster than society did.
Sea-level rise in Bangladesh was the most significant domino to fall in a chain of global, climate-induced events, with more than 100 million people seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Poverty, conflict and sickness quickly followed.
Even then, Western society thought it was immune. It began slowly in the United States. A culmination of rapid sea-level rise and unprecedented storm surges quickly displaced tens of millions of people, plunging the country into civil war.
In more arid regions of the world, forest fires and drought became the new norm. Across the globe, the frequency and strength of extreme weather events increased, damaging old, outdated infrastructure and thrusting even the most developed cities into chaos.
Any hope that catastrophic climate change would alter the habits of global populations, was quickly extinguished by the dissenting voice of nationalism, which spread like wildfire through political elections.
As policy makers failed to mitigate the sweeping environmental changes, charismatic corporate icons, with companies more powerful than governments, took control.