The twenty-first century was a trying one for humanity. A late reaction to an imbalance in planetary homeostasis led to a series of geocatastrophes in the middle of the century. Some found it fortunate, as the worldwide catastrophes brought World War 3 to an abrupt end with no winner. All countries were forced to stop fighting and tend to their own.
A mad scramble led to a much faster halt to the disasters than anyone had calculated was possible. The Reckoning, as it came to be called, lasted only thirty years. By 2070, the planet had mostly recovered and the geocatastrophes stopped.
World War Three and The Reckoning led to a delay in the genesis of the Technological Singularity (the point at which humanity creates an artificial superintelligence that surpasses human potential) until 2065.
The Technological Singularity, following three decades of geocatastrophes and isolationism, scared the population of Earth and strict artificial intelligence laws were instated. As a result of the collective existential shock, the governments of various countries began to meet.
In 2069, the first successful Alcumbierre Warp Drive was created by NASA. The first manned test ships were successfully flown in 2072. While the event inspired the world, leaving everyone eager to meet extraterrestrials, it inspired world leaders in other ways.
In countries around the world, overpopulation had become an issue. While most countries had found stability, alone or with the help of larger friends, life spans had also increased greatly, perpetually increasing demand. To prevent a long term problem of a demand they could not meet, these countries and unions began to work together in the form of competition.
Countries and unions around the world competed to settle colonies on other planets. While the poor were sent in large quantities due to their high populations, skilled specialists were necessary for colonization, and a surprisingly balanced population was sent to each colony. The first expedition was launched in 2081, and arrived at a nearby water world the following year. This fueled a thirst for exploration, since they could easily acquire fresh water for colonies lacking in it.
With the increased resources from the colonies, Earth was afforded new luxuries and was exposed to exotic alien specimens. It was not long before The Reckoning became a distant memory.