Almost 50 Years Ago, Soylent Green Portrayed a Grim Future for 2022
In anticipation of Earth Day 2022, it is a good time to reflect on the upcoming 50th anniversary of the release of the eco-apocalypse movie Soylent Green:
It’s the year 2022. Cumulative effects of overpopulation, pollution, and “climate catastrophe” have caused severe worldwide shortages of food, water, and housing. Scientists confirm oceanographic reports saying the oceans are dying. The food chain is disrupted. Food is becoming scarce, and the temperature is so hot that heatwaves have become year-round thanks to climate change aka “global warming.”
Homeless people are everywhere; only half the workforce is employed while the other half is barely making it. Many people are illiterate and few factories are producing new goods.
The homes of the elite are barricaded, with private security. Only the elite can afford air conditioning. Strawberries are now a delicacy at $75 a quart. The situation with food has gotten so bad that people are being harvested off the streets and “recycled protein” is being distributed to the population.
The movie Soylent Green was produced and filmed in 1972 and released in 1973. It is a futuristic tale of doom, describing life in the year 2022.
We are living in that year, and things aren’t anywhere near as bad as the movie portrayed. While some of the items it touched on (self-inflicted thanks to COVID-19, green energy policy, inflation) might be considered climate-caused by “climate activists,” the climate itself is not a catastrophe when you look at real-world data.
For example, in March 2022, global temperatures measured by satellite are 0.27°F (0.15°C) and U.S. temperature measured by the U.S. Climate Reference Network, is just 0.38°F (0.21°C) above normal; nearly undetectable fractions of a degree, with little change measured in the United States over the past 17 years.
And when we look at other real-world data, such as crop production and the overall health of the planet, we find things are even less like the predictions of the movie for 2022.
Global Crop production is actually up significantly according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture division. The Earth has actually become greener according to NASA, thanks to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And, air pollution is down 50 percent or more since 1990, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA added this note to their report: “During this same period, the U.S. economy continued to grow, Americans drove more miles, and population and energy use increased.”
However, the most significant climate-related data in 2022 is the fact that “climate-related deaths” have plummeted since the movie came out and is now approaching zero. Using data from the International Disaster Database, climate scientist Bjørn Lomborg found striking drops in the data. As Lomborg writes, “If we look at the death risk for an individual, the risk reduction is even bigger -- dropped almost 99% since the 1920s.”
Two years ago, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, there was much to celebrate about our present-day due to improvements in our environment since 1970.
In contrast, Soylent Green portrayed a "climate catastrophe" and a grim future for 2022 due to climate change that hasn’t manifested itself in a profoundly negative way. In fact, most of what we experience today that could be considered a catastrophe is self-inflicted.
Anthony Watts is a Senior Fellow for Environment and Climate for The Heartland Institute.