Note, there are two excerpts below from the first two books in the series.
Part I. Beyond the Milky Way
They were hovering over America. They could see its outline, the familiar shape of their country with two oceans on either side. But something looked different. A thin crack seemed to run right in the middle of it. Confused, Don narrowed his eyes. As they got closer, the crack grew bigger, and to his horror he realized what it was. It wasn’t a crack at all. It was an oil pipeline running right through the middle of his beloved country, dividing it in two. It looked ugly, old and rusted, like a carcass of a big snake. In some places, some people desperate to steal oil had broken the pipeline. It didn’t seem to have been used in a long time.
What the — he thought, angrily at first, and then as he laughed sarcastically, what have they done? The divide has manifested itself from symbolic to literal.“What have they done?” he moaned.
“What?” Rick asked.
Don told him. When he left Earth, the Republicans had fought to get the pipeline installed, and the Democrats had thwarted their efforts (successfully). The president was a Democrat who had used his veto power. Then, there was new leadership, and a Republican president was elected. He had approved the installation of the pipeline. Oil was transported from Canada. Soon, the earth had dried up, and there was no more crude oil. There was nothing to transport. The pipeline was neglected, rusting now.
They could see the land below at a distance. The land was dotted with oil rigs — lying dead, lifeless and rusting — having sucked the land dry. They looked like blood-sucking mosquitos scattered over skin. Big squares, denoting huge fields, thin lines denoting roads, amoeba like shapes denoting bodies of water — dried up with a cracked floor. The squares were tinged light brown. Was freshly harvested or was it burned? Houses were tiny dots, black trails of smoke emanating from them, moving lazily, like a worm’s body sinking slowly in deep water.
“The brown shapes you see are ponds,” said Rick.
“But they’re dry.”
“Yes,” Rick replied.
“How did this happen?” asked Don.
“Side effects of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking,” came the reply. “In their greed to find oil, many people drilled holes in the ground randomly, polluting the underground water tables. So, people stopped drinking it. They drained their ponds to stay safe.”
As they moved, the scene before them moved. Now, they could see the top of a huge chimney. It was the part of a huge factory which appeared to be abandoned. There was no smoke coming out of the chimney to pollute the air.
When the factory was in operation, it employed thousands. It was the single biggest source of employment for the people in the town nearby. Just like a ripple on still water, it also had a rippling effect on the local economy. Communities started building grocery stores, barbershops, medical clinics, car washes, places of worship, restaurants and bars. They even built a small mall, a golf course and a movie hall. Things were great. Life was good. Everything was easily available and plentiful. The factory continued to make attractive products for the community, and the smoke blowing from the chimney symbolized a successful industry, making record profits for the owners.
Then the trouble started. The factory closed. Thousands of people lost their jobs. And like an earthquake in the middle of the ocean, it had a slow but devastating effect. The mall closed, closing several businesses, a few restaurants went out of business, as there were no customers, the golf course closed, and so did the movie hall. The grocery store remained open but the shelves were emptier. Out of desperation, many non-believers turned to religion for spiritual guidance from a higher being — someone who was above them. But that ‘someone above them’ was not a divine being, nor was it anything to do with spirituality. It was the factory. Why did it close? Was it an economic reason (as given by the owners), or was it more than that? Did they shut it down due to environmental reasons?
The factory was emitting a lot of gas that was hazardous to the environment. And of course, the height of the chimney made everyone around feel safe. Like ostriches burying their heads in the sand and thinking they will be safe, they failed to realize the source of their entire problem. The government had imposed stricter rules and heavier penalties to keep the environment clean. So, instead of doing the right thing, the owners decided to close the factory with no regards to the livelihood of thousands of workers and their families.
And the owners had been very clever in deceiving people by blaming the government. People believed them — blaming the government for all their problems and not the owners.
Part II. Return to Earth
“W — what?” he stammered, not sure he had heard it right. “D — did you say ‘no Florida’?”
Don’s, Kim’s and Terry’s jaws dropped, looking stunned. Tom was surprised too, but not stunned. Having seen the fate of a planet in the past, he had anticipated the inevitable. However, he was surprised at the speed that it had happened. It being the Earthlings’ first experience; they seemed totally unprepared. Aliens back on Etoo had seen that in the past. Etoo was their third planet; their race had already abandoned two of them. Although he was not born to witness it, he had learned this from the archives. The aliens had been totally unprepared for the first time. There was a lot of chaos when it happened. They were more prepared the second time around, and they had the technology that was far superior than the humans on Earth. They are going through the same that we went through when we abandoned the first planet. They are totally unprepared for the unavoidable. Sooner or later, they will have to make a new home; and the way I see things here, it will be very soon. But where will they go? Even if they want to, how can they go? He wondered.
“What — what do you mean — when did this — how did this — ?” Kim yelled, panicking, “What happened?”
The scientific community had warned them of Earth’s temperatures rising, the snow-caps receding, the sea-levels rising. But the greedy humans didn’t heed their warnings. In their selfish desire to hoard money, they had influenced the politicians — the decision makers. They labeled the scientific community as greedy men who were out to get their research project funded. And to make matters worse, the newly elected President was a climate change denier; and he appointed people who were also deniers. The result was catastrophic, not only for America but the entire world. Almost all the island countries had been hit the worst. A few of them had ceased to exist. People had realized their mistake, but it was way too late. There was no turning back. The world had already tipped.
“Most of the lower part of Florida is submerged, only the Panhandle remains. Many of the Caribbean islands are gone. And it’s not just Florida, many of the coastal towns all along the eastern seaboard have been affected. Millions of people have moved inland.”
“What about West Coast?”
“That too has been affected,” he replied, “and — .”