Searching for a way to address overpopulation and global warming, Norwegian scientist Dr. Jørgen Asbjørnsen develops "downsizing", an irreversible process that shrinks organic material. He becomes part of the first group of human test subjects and is encouraged that the process reduces people to a height of approximately five inches, drastically decreasing their consumption and waste. When the findings are revealed at a conference five years later, there is a global sensation.