Soylent  Green

Belcourt Theatre Nashville, TN


Amanda Little

Professor of Journalism and Science Writing, Vanderbilt University; Columnist for Bloomberg

Soylent Green— The fate of food In a bigger, hotter, smarter world

Climate models show that global crop production will decline every decade for the rest of this century due to drought, heat and flooding. Water supplies are in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the world’s population is expected to grow another 30 percent by midcentury. How will we feed nine billion people sustainably in the coming decades?

Amanda Little, an award-winning journalist and professor, spent four years traveling in search of answers to this question, from an apple orchard in Wisconsin and tiny Kenyan cornfields to massive Norwegian fish farms and computerized foodscapes in Shanghai. This was a deep, transformative education, by turns shocking, funny, and powerfully hopeful. She tells the story of old and radically new approaches to food production while charting the growth of a movement that could redefine sustainable food on a grand scale.

Presented as part of the 2022 National Evening of Science on Screen.

Belcourt Theatre Nashville, TN

Film Synopsis

With the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a CEO with ties to the world's main food supply.

The year is 2022. The population of New York City has exploded to over 40 million residents, crammed into tiny apartments, all battling for food. While the wealthy hoard meat, fruit, and vegetables, the have-nots survive on factory-made food produced by a corporate monolith, whose latest product is the mysterious Soylent Green. Although Soylent Green is touted as containing “high-energy plankton,” a tough homicide detective named Thorn (Charlton Heston) finds reason to believe otherwise when he is assigned to investigate the mysterious death of wealthy lawyer William R. Simonson (Joseph Cotten). Initially distracted by such luxuries as Simonson’s contraband bourbon, air-conditioning, and mistress, Thorn soon discovers the late man’s deep-seated ties to the Soylent Corporation, which appear to have troubled his conscience during the last days of his life. As he delves deeper into the investigation, he stumbles upon the horrifying origins of Soylent Green.

About the Speaker

Amanda Little is a professor of journalism and science writing at Vanderbilt University and a columnist for Bloomberg. She’s the author of The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World, a five-year adventure into the lands, minds and machines shaping the future of sustainable food. She also wrote Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair With Energy.

Amanda has a particular fondness for far-flung and hard-to-stomach reporting that takes her to ultradeep oil rigs, down manholes, into sewage plants and inside monsoon clouds. She has written about energy, technology and the environment for the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, Wired, Rolling Stone and She has interviewed politically diverse figures, such as Barack Obama and Lindsey Graham, and has been interviewed by journalists including Terry Gross.