In 1973 a sci-fi movie called “Soylent Green” was released. It was a story about Earth and humanity (or lack of humanity) in the year 2022. I was about 12 years old and can remember almost every detail of that film. Quoting from the plot summary (IMDb), in the movie “natural food like fruits, vegetables, and meat among others are now extinct. Earth is overpopulated and New York City has 40 million starving, poverty stricken people. In the year 2022, earth’s face has completely changed. The greenhouse effect has risen the temperature into nearly unbearable regions, and the people are kept in the cities by law.”
So why on a civil engineering blog do I talk about one of the most realistic science fiction movies I have ever seen? Because in 1973 the idea of global warming was something only that Democratic, young generation even worried about. In 2008, the news, conferences and marches on DC are all discussing the Earth’s peril. In 1973 the concept of overcrowding, loss of precious farm land and national parks, water shortages, natural food shortages were all concepts for the “Soylent Green” Charlton Heston movie ~ not reality! That movie was 35 years ago. The plot becoming a reality is just around the corner. As civil engineers, and those of us non engineers interested in the civil engineering world, we can act to help the environmental disaster from occurring. Great civil engineering minds are creatively devising new water treatment plants to deal with pollution and high speed rails to reduce individual automobile traffic.