“Soylent Green” is a reminder that environmentalism wasn’t always a polarizing issue.
I do not agree that Climate Change caused the California fires and that it will destroy the planet soon. And … that’s it. I’m not allowed to be an environmentalist. I’m a dirty apostate.
Meanwhile, because some environmentalists are better known for judging outsiders than actually saving anything, environmentalism has a bad name among half of America.
This situation is crazy. “Soylent Green” is a reminder that environmentalism is for everybody. We need to cherish the bounty that the earth provides and not waste resources like shortsighted pigs.
“Soylent Green” takes place in 2022. Extreme overpopulation is the problem. New York City alone has 40 million people. The natural world has been largely used up; food and water is expensive and human comfort and dignity are hard to come by.
Half of New York is unemployed. One of the lucky ones is Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston). Thorn lives in a cramped apartment with no running water. When he’s off duty, he chats with his elderly roommate (Edward G. Robinson) about the good old days when there was a countryside instead of city after overcrowded city.
Detective Thorn is sent to investigate the murder of William Simonson: a super-rich businessman who was killed at his ritzy Chelsea Towers apartment. When Thorn gets there, his main agenda is to loot as much high-class food and booze as he can carry. But soon enough, the case becomes even more intriguing than the stolen bourbon.
Thorn learns that Simonson was on the board of directors of Soylent Corporation. Soylent has practically cornered the food market. Its latest product – Soylent Green – utilizes ocean plankton to create an efficient green wafer that is handed out to the starving masses like bread.
Simonson learned a shocking secret about Soylent Corporation and Thorn is going to risk his life to uncover the truth.
There are many half-baked doomed future movies. This isn’t one of them. The thing that makes “Soylent Green” better than “Blade Runner” or “Mad Max” is that it isn’t trying to shock us with a nightmare future. The society of “Soylent Green” isn’t a dystopia; it’s just our world with way too many people in it.
The film’s boogeyman isn’t the big bad cops or even the big bad corporation. It’s our pathological lack of restraint as a species.
These days, it sometimes feels like environmentalism is a battle of earth vs. man. But the film suggests that our lack of conservation is directly related to our lack of humanity.
“Soylent Green” dares us to consider a new way of looking at environmentalism. We should make sure that every single person living now has a job, a place to live, enough to eat, and a life of dignity before we even consider bringing anyone else into the world.
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