Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Our own Pandora-like world. Gorongosa, Northern Mozambique.

Avatar is now officially the biggest movie of all time. Its impressive. It has somehow revolutionized cinema. It has brought saving forests right to the front of the world stage, in a way that only good art can.

I have seen it twice, both in regular cinema and 3-D. So what is it about this film that evokes such serious passions that after seeing it some people, CNN reports, have fallen into a deep depression, even contemplated suicide. The main issue seems to be that people’s perception of what is beautiful in Avatar is not here on Earth, and when they leave the cinema, they yearn for a land like Pandora.

Within the realms of the collective unconscious there is every reason to assume that the movie links in to a very old part of the human psyche. One of the founding parts of our minds knows that the people of Pandora's harmony with the environment is missing in our modern world, and the viewer's depression might be driven by the movie tapping into a sleeping sense of our own oneness with Earth, one that disappears when they leave the cinema. It is a feeling so out of odds with the current status-quo of a city street that anxiety and depression are both possible.

If this sounds wishy-washy, I could go into the nature of our thoughts and their quantum relationship with our environment, and about how simple perception and thought can physically change matter (the US military already uses secure codes that utilize this phenomenon). But I won't go into that particular rabbit hole.

No matter how it works, Avatar is a very powerful unifying vehicle for environmental action and thought that can help change our Earth into the Pandora we know it can be again. Essentially what I am saying is that now that Cameron dreamed it up, and we all have a shared vision, we can make it real (probably without the floating mountains, but then again...)

That may sound even more wishy washy, but every building, road, and spaceship first came out of somebody's mind, as a thought. Time and energy was all that was needed to make it real.

So what anyone who enjoyed this movie may not realize is that there are a few places, amazing places that are like Pandora, here on Earth. There are places you can swim with dolphins in the moonlight with phosphorescence glittering green around you as the stars shine white from above, and the starburst trails of the dolphins flit around you. You can enter the darkest of ancient forests, and find animals like the Okapi, half zebra and half giraffe, hiding shyly in the undergrowth. There are rookeries of albatross, millions of massive birds, hawking and sqwaking, big enough to carry off a child. These amazing places are here mostly because people fought for their preservation, each one is a victory of Avatar-like proportions, at least for the people involved in the projects.

This is our Pandora, and its up to us to create the world we most want to live in. Once wild animals of the most garish and incredible sorts roamed this planet with us. Can we bring them back? Not now, but we can imagine, and we can work with the riches we already have but are losing fast.

So anyone who liked this movie, this vehicle of thought, it can also be a call to arms, a call to action. There are big and small world-saving projects everywhere that need help, money, volunteers and simple interest. They often exist in isolation, but get involved and find out how you can be a vital part of the chance to not only save the planet from us, but be the change we need.

For my part, I am making a documentary this year that I started at the end of 2009. The film, Trading Trees, will surprise, intrigue and educate people about how the new carbon economy is making a difference among the poorest of the poor by saving forests and helping to reverse climate change. Worldwide, project developers, governments and NGOs are using this carbon trading to renew or reserve forests that mitigate climate change. This is the story of the struggles and successes of these projects, it is the story of the winnable battle for the planet’s forests.
I am making it to help share what is being done to save our world's forests, because they are like Pandora, and they are real, and they really do need every bit of help they can get.

Everyone can do something. I need cash and assistance of all sorts to get the next phases of the project completed, but I am sure that even in this economy it will come. Support my project, support your own, use your skills to get involved in the way you know best. That will beat the post-Avatar blues, and it will make a big difference to our inner and outer worlds.

1 comment:

  1. Jeff, great article - you describe our ongoing disconnection with our environment so well. We in the Western world have indeed thought of ourselves as outside of nature --- to our own detriment. The yearning to reconnect is there, and I love how you suggest we channel this energy into thoughtful creative projects and powerful new forms. yes!