Videos From YouTube
Avatar Promotes Seven Profound Environmental Themes
Top Seven (7) Profound Environmental Themes Promoted by Avatar, The Movie
If you haven’t seen Avatar, and you need a green pick-me-up, go now! Environmentalists, or just people who love nature, will get a buzz out of the amazing visual effects which showcase an inspirational ecosystem on a far away planet.
Avatar has been heralded as the movie that will change the way movies are made. With a budget of $500 million, James Cameron is being praised for developing some unbelievable technology that could remake Hollywood. Go and see it to be impressed by the seamless integration of computer generated images (CGI) with actors/actresses and locations. It’s truly amazing.
Yet Avatar is also receiving attention as a movie with some deep threads of green truth. The film is set on Pandora, an exomoon that has valuable minerals (Unobtanium) which humans want to get their hands on. The tension comes from the fact that the natives of Pandora, the Na’vi, live where the minerals are richest. Though there are potentially peaceful methods for extracting the minerals, conflicts inevitably arise.
It’s a great film, with many interesting environmental concepts running through it. Only time will tell if this highly popular blockbuster is able to add more fuel to the going green movement of our time.
Here are the Seven (7) profound environmental themes evident in the storyline:
(spoiler alert: there may be some clues in the following passage that will reveal important plot points; read on at your own risk)
1. As we live our lives, we are only borrowing energy from Mother Earth
As we grow and live, the food we eat, and the resources we consume, give us the energy to take action in our community. This consumption not only drives our daily life, but it also depletes the resources on our planet. In a perfect ecosystem, dead and decaying plants/animals produce nutrients and oxygen for new growth which therefore replace them in a sustainable fashion. This sustainability is the key to survival, what we take, we must put back. As chemistry teaches us, energy does not disappear when it is used; it merely enters into an alternate state (producing by products and waste). The trick is to find sustainable resources and minimise waste. We must always consider the ecosystem as a whole and the consequences of our actions as we consume on a daily basis. As we are seeing with climate change, the culmination of our actions will always provide an opposite reaction.
2. Get close to see more clearly
Throughout the film, the main character, Jake Sully, must immerse himself in the Na’vi culture in order to learn from them and gain their trust. But as he gets up close and personal, he begins to truly understand the people and the forest, coming to love them in the process. Likewise with our relationship to the planet—we think nothing of exploiting our environment as long as we keep our distance, but when we learn about it, we gain respect and admiration for that which we did not previously know personally. Consequently, we are better equipped to protect the planet. What does this mean for you? Get out in nature and take a look at the world around you! Go for a walk, sign up for a nature adventure tour, volunteer for your local national park, or just cultivate a garden in your own backyard.
3. Seeing better from afar
By the same token, sometimes if we’re too close, we can’t see the forest for the trees. The villains of Avatar were so focused on one thing—the minerals they wanted to extract—that they did not see the role they played in the forest and the Na’vi community. Tunnel vision often blinds us to the damage we are doing, and the only fix is to step back and see the situation as a whole. A great way to get a broad view of the issues is to connect with environmental organizations that will educate you on the most pressing issues of our time. Through email newsletters, green communities, blogs, and other online information, you can stay tuned so that environmental issues stay in perspective.
4. Connectedness is important
The Na’vi relied on intimate connections to comprehend their world—between one Na’vi to another, between the Na’vi and the animals, and between the living Na’vi and the Na’vi ancestors. The wisdom of the past and the perspective of others gave them the ability to make wise decisions that allowed them to live harmoniously with their surroundings. We would do well to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and to hear the voices of our fellow earthly creatures (animals and plants alike) when plotting our course. That is, we should never forget that we depend on the planet as much as it depends on us for survival.
5. Collaboration yields great results
The Na’vi people demonstrated that as a unified whole, they could accomplish much, and so remind us that we may only be able to solve our planetary problems when we come together. By collaborating with other indigenous tribes, the Na’vi were able to overcome the challenge of ridding their planet of imminent danger; a good reminder that together, our human race can accomplish much by focusing on solutions to common problems. You can be part of the solution by donating money or your time to environmental charities, making your consumer preferences known to commercial and retail companies, contributing your ideas for green solutions in eco-communities online or as an expert in a green job, and more.
6. Giving thanks
Death is inevitable, even for the Na’vi in their majestic world, yet even in death they showed respect. Much like the native peoples of various earth continents, the Na’vi would thank animals for their lives, thus changing the relationship with other creatures from one of utilitarianism to one of mutual reliance. The Na’vi acknowledged their need of other creatures but did not take them for granted. This is important for all of us and can be put into practice by choosing products and services that are respectful of our planet’s non-human creatures. Choose cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care products, opt for free-range and organic foods, buy clothing made from humane animal fibres (wool, alpaca, etc), avoid dead animal fibres (fur and leather), etc.
7. Forcefulness results in destruction
By and large, humanity has approached nature in a combative stance, looking for ways to overcome by force. This has resulted in indiscriminate destruction of some of our most precious species. The Na’vi relied on a more gentle (some might say more female) way of communicating with other creatures, and as a result were able to live in peaceful community.
Did you pick up on any other green themes in Avatar which we have missed? Please share them by commenting below.