The horizon shimmers in the heat as you squint through the blinding sun bouncing off the sand and stone of the plains. Here and there, the desert is scarred with the faded black of a mortar shell, from wars ages past. The plains extend to the horizon in every direction.
Humanity has struggled out of the post-apocalypse of irradiation, nuclear winter, and famine by the time Cybersphere's timeline begins. But Mother Earth...
From orbit, clusters of craters are visible, especially surrounding the locations of pre-war industrial or metropolitan complexes. Many craters have filled with poisoned rainwater and radioactive slush to form lakes that glow at night. The geography of the earth is generally barren and dusty, since the vast majority of vegetation has died off, allowing topsoil to blow away on swirling winds.
In the wake of WWIII's destruction, populations are limited to small, dense settlements around the rebuilt ruins of metropolitan areas. Beyond the walls of cities are vast wastelands of semi-radioactive deserts and mutated wilderness. Drinkable water and food are rare, for even the smallest insects and soil bacteria have been exterminated from huge swaths of the Earth's surface.
Weather is unpredictable and harsh as wordwide climates emerge from years of nuclear winter. Acid and radioactive rainfall is common, and residual fallout in the atmosphere creates a thick smog that can cover entire continents for weeks. When the skies are clear, temperatures often run blisteringly hot. The ozone layer has been all but destroyed.
Very few areas of the world support fully developed ecosystems. Merciful weather patterns near the Equator have spared tattered remnants of rainforests in remote areas of Central and South America. Scattered wildlife and mutant species continue to struggle, but survive only in isolated pockets around the globe.
Overpopulation continues to be a problem, for while the numbers of human inhabitants are substantially reduced, only a small fraction of the globe is habitable. Widespread pollution and overtaxing of natural resources has begun anew as corporations and cartels jockey for supremacy during postwar reconstruction.