The Earth in the Wess'har universe is set 6 to 7 centuries in the future. Earth has changed a great deal, with multinational corporations having patented almost every type of animal, plant and plant hybrid genome, creating a monopoly on food production. Earth has also been devestated by food riots, attacks by ecoterrorists, and the enviroment all over the world has been devestated. Many animals havae become extinct, and corporations have been influencing world governments by resticting access to food. That monopoly was what partialy fueled the Thetis' expedition to star.