“Solyent Green and Cannery Row”

Farmed vs wild salmon tonight? Before too long, the topic led us to finding a good, sci-fi movie worth watching. I started the movie while nearby, the spouse heated the oven and assembled frozen halibut filets and egg rolls on an aluminum lined pan.

Richard Fleischer’s “Soylent Green” tells the story of New York, in the year 2022, when the population has swollen to 80 million people. Most people are now homeless in the cities, and they’re dependent on daily rations of food and water.

Roger Ebert was a popular film critic of our time, from 1967 until his death in 2013. He reviewed Solyent Green describing its lead character Charleton Heston, as a gritty detective who gets called in when a top official of the Soylent Corp is murdered. He goes on a trail that leads to a most unappetizing conclusion–but before he gets there, the movie paints a fascinating and scary picture of population growth run amock.

The detective part of the story is mostly just an excuse to keep us interested from one end of the movie to the other.

“Soylent Green’s” real achievement is to create a society itself that’s changed; as people turn into herds and riots are broken up by garbage scoops that toss people into giant trucks.

Heston plays the dedicated cop who stubbornly refuses to quit investigating the murder; against political pressures.

Paula Kelly, as are all women, is now property. She is also part of the household furniture inventory. I nearly forgot to add, that the earth has already warmed to extremes making it nearly unbearable to breathe. Greenhouses gasses run amock.

Her employer Solyent Corp Official Joseph Cotten’s is murdered in his apartment.

With the way things are outside she’s happy to trade her body and freedom for the air-conditioned splendor of the rich. But, somehow, wait for it – she falls in love with the gritty detective Heston.

In the movie Soylent Green is introduced as being made of plankton, but as the film unfolds, Heston discovers that it’s manufactured from all the scooped up and disposed dead bodies.

So how could there be food shortages?

This morning I know allot more about buying fish to eat, after reading a story in eatingwell.com The story says the five healthiest fish to eat are now the Atlantic mackerel, the wild caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, rainbow trout, and the herring. Let’s see if our household fish eating habits start changing.

In Peru they catch this little fish, that gets ground up, shipped around the world and then fed back to farmed fish.

And, their doing it with the same boats that used to ply the shores of Monterey and the Southern California coastline, before they were caught to extinction.

….….After World War II, the sardines disappeared from Monterey Bay and brought economic disaster to Cannery Row. Before the collapse, Monterey’s fishing industry had become one of the most productive in the world …….During the 1930s and ‘40s, peak sardine catches fueled the booming fishing and canning industry as immortalized in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row.

……But then the sardines vanished. In the late 1940s and ‘50s, the fishery began to decline due to a combination of overfishing and natural population fluctuations.

Since 2013, humans now eat more farmed fish than wild fish. Oh oh; the common refrain now is that we need aquaculture because the planet’s booming population is running out of animal protein.

Perhaps, the movie, Solyent Green was not too far fetched in their view of life in 2022. But, women as furniture?

It’ll never catch on.

2 thoughts on ““Solyent Green and Cannery Row”

  1. Solyent Green made more sense to me recently. There is another movie I couldn’t find the title to; its premise is space people come down to earth to welcome them to their planet; somehow someone figures out the people that go up to visit become the “beef”.


  2. One of my all time favorite movies. I actually remember going to the drive in (Highway 39) with my parents to see it.


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