The end of the world has come and gone. If we want to survive, we have to rebuild. Our homes, our society, our way of life. Or we too will become extinct.
The apocalpse came in a series of stages. Natural disaster, disease, and war. Then terrorist destruction / elimination of technology and our access to it (think Escape from LA). Technology we had come to depend on no longer worked, and communication with the rest of the world was cut off. As a result, when supplies of things like food, gasoline, and other limited supplies became, these too were fought over in civil and continent-wide wars, down to scrambles amongst neighbors when it became every man for himself. The casualties far outnumbered the survivors. We reaped what we had sown; pollution in the environment made it harder to produce food, perishable resources were largely destroyed or used up, and what little remained had been decimated by war. Scientists, a lot of those who were supposed to be in development, etc, were hit first because of living in the cities, targeted by military action, rife with disease, and vulnerable to rising waters and environmental disaster.
Now, there are no longer many independent nations: there aren’t enough people left to support this. There is North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia. The cities are dangerous still — what’s left of them — thanks to biological leavings (the dead), and general destruction and decomp of buildings and infrastructure. Most people have retreated to the country, using small villages, building new ones, harvasting what little we have left in way of knowledge and tech. We’re running out of food, and have had to resort to traditional methods of harvest and farming, many of which have been forgotten. Essentially, this is early 19th century, though many of the survivors are unaware of how to make-do for oneself, let alone read to discover these historic practices.
A generation has grown up since the disasters, and war has been all they’ve known. Now there is relative peace in United North America. Repopulation efforts and rebuilding efforts have started. Many men were killed in the wars, and of those who remain, many have been left sterile some by accident, some systemically sterilized by the Government when they were deemed “unsuitable”. These sterile and disenfranchised men are known as Sticks. For those remaining, especially the Viables (ie: fertile) men and women, marriage is strictly controlled by the Government. If you want to get married, the easiest way is to join the Government Program where men and women are strictly chaperoned and matches are Government approved. While you could still fall in love the old fashioned way and apply for a license, you’re likely to be rejected, since there are so few viable males. The Gov’t wants monogamy, since they hope this will encourage peace and secure their own power.
The world and mankind don’t have much going for them, between segregation of the remaining peoples, a corrupt Government, and continued battles. The best thing they may have is the potential power of a dream.