As Dramarama once sang: “Everybody knows today is Earth Day, Merry Christmas, happy birthday to whoever’s being born.” And one major birth from the past year belonged to proud papa Jim Cameron, who gave the masses “Avatar,” arguably the most powerful environmental message ever unleashed upon our planet. Although it is sugar-coated in plenty of action, adventure and explosions, there is an undeniable “save Mother Earth” message throughout, and one that has already been seen by hundreds of millions of people. Not even a mid-’90s alternative rock band had that kind of influence -– sorry, John Easdale.
If you haven’t been to Pandora yet, today your second chance arrives in the form of shiny new home-viewing discs, and it certainly isn’t a coincidence that Cameron’s film is being unleashed on Earth Day. With that in mind, here’s a list of 5 Earth Day Lessons You Can Learn From ‘Avatar’:
Be Good To Your Mother
The most epic work of environmental advocacy in fiction ever produced has a message so clearly stated that Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” seems vague by comparison: If you mess with Mother Nature, she’ll kick your ass. Virgin rainforests are threatened, indigenous people face extinction, the planet’s delicate ecosystem is thrown out of whack -– and then all hell breaks loose. So, next time you’re thinking about chucking that Big Mac wrapper out of your car window, think twice, okay?
Live Like You’ve Placed a Damage Deposit
“’Avatar’ asks us all to be warriors for the Earth,” Cameron explained in an interview once. “This beautiful, fragile, miracle of a planet that we have right here is our land. Not ours to own, but ours to defend and protect.” So, rather than treating the planet like a rental car, let’s pretend we didn’t get supplemental insurance and need to be really careful with it, okay?
This is Real
Yeah, we don’t have blue people who ride giant flying beasts in our daily life. But when Cameron traveled around the world to do his “Avatar” production work, he encountered real-life environmental struggles and tragedies that paralleled much of the film’s plot. Let the sci-fi hook you in, but don’t let it fool you into thinking the movie’s message is less “science” and more “fiction.”
Fight the Power
Life sucks for Jake Sully at the beginning of the film, as he is thrown into a dangerous warzone where his disability is a potential liability. But once he realizes that the military-industrial complex doesn’t always have the most noble of intentions, he begins rebelling. His reward? Sully becomes the first Na’vi avatar ever to join an indigenous tribe, he gets to sleep/bond with the princess and he gets the ability to walk again. If you separate your recyclables, it goes to figure you’ll at least get to hook up with a hippie chick at Burning Man.
War Ain’t Helping
We don’t only hurt the planet by dosing ourselves with aerosol hairspray. In the real world, like on Pandora, war is a part of our unfortunate reality. And if you’re working to promote a better environment on this Earth Day, it’s important to also do your part for peace. Cameron’s film incorporates some powerful messages about how mercenaries, thuggish behavior and weapons of mass destruction do more harm than good. So, let’s all join him in promoting messages of hope, peace and self-control on Earth Day –- and then pretend the holiday lasts 365 days a year.
Has “Avatar” influenced your behavior towards Mother Earth at all? Or do you view it as entertainment and nothing more?