Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Cheap Shot at 'Avatar', but I just have to...

© 2010 Joshua Stark

While checking my email today, I noticed a little news blip, something about James Cameron claiming that the production company for Avatar - 20th Century Fox - had first been concerned about the movie's theme being too environmentalist. Cameron claims that he pushed back, they backed down, and the movie was made as he wanted it.
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I would have let this pass, and just thought it some blustering and a way to get more media attention for his movie, except something happened to me a couple of weeks back that made this more than just a passing thought:

While walking through the parking lot of a neighborhood gigantic store, I picked up a piece of litter to throw away, and chuckled to myself at its origin. It was a small, clear plastic bag printed with the words, "Na'vi Dire Horse".

Obviously, this was an inner wrapper, once containing one of Mr. Cameron's "green" warrior's steeds, now blowing across the parking lot and headed, eventually, for the Yolo Bypass and Sacramento Delta.

I'm a big fan of toys, and I was going to let this slide. But, reading about Mr. Cameron's claim to defend his movie's green message, and then to see the money he and 20th Century Fox will make on the merchandising, I'm left a little perturbed.

This was a perfect opportunity for Mr. Cameron to help usher in a new, green production era. For example, he could have used manufacturing facilities close to the markets for the toys, or he could have insisted on 100% biodegradable materials, or perhaps make them all from 100% recycled materials. The COOLEST would have been 100% plastic from the Pacific Trash Vortex, where most of them will end up.

Wanting to see the calculations on this marketing scheme's greenhouse gas emissions, and hoping to find some articles shaming Mr. Cameron, et. al., for this anti-environmentalism, I googled the potential controversy, but found nothing.

So, here's one: Shame on you, Mr. Cameron and 20th Century Fox, for making a fun, if shallow, movie, marketing it as an environmental message, and then helping to trash the environment a little more, when you could have walked your talk.

3 comments:

Greg Robie said...

Well Josh, at least you called your shot like it is...

I followed you here from your comment—posted after mine—regarding Rob Stavins variant of an 'accommodating' economic strategy for successfully giving fossil carbon an scientifically relevant price at http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/analysis/stavins/?p=533 . I wasn't sure what you meant by "money MU" and Goulder's paper—before it lost me—clarified little. Anyway, I am intrigued by your Blog's title—if not your cheap shot. Have you some links you could share to posts here the might fall under the category of "Denial/Motivated Reasoning, Ethics and the Environment"?

I am finding it increasingly helpful to consider privileged humanity's behavior regarding klimakatastrophe through an assumption that the economic collapse called the great depression was never recovered from; that what collapsed (again) at the Great Depression's outset was fractional reserve banking. The difference in that collapse, from previous ones, was that it was enhanced by the dynamics enabled through the creation of the Federal Reserve and a trust in self-regulation in matters of greed . . . a condition that the current collapse is a return to, but on a global scale.

As such, pursuits, like greening this economic model, seem to be little more than delusional hubris, and hence my inquiry into your writing and request for links to posts you have made that might explore the disconnect between talk and wake you reference in this post's critique.

Greg Robie said...

whoops! wake = walk

Josh said...

Greg, I have to admit, it took me a bit to understand your questions. I think I've got them, now.

First, thanks for stopping by! I hope you show up and comment more often.

I've done little writing here about my thoughts on the economic collapse, but I've thought a lot about it. I did post this piece that covers my thoughts a little bit:
http://enviroethics.blogspot.com/2010/01/economics-and-environment-from-december.html

I'm intrigued by your notions about the fractional reserve banking system. I don't have so much of a problem with it, as there is a potential in profit from future production, but I do think we need to return to usury laws, and move people away from credit as wealth and back to productive capacity/wages&work as wealth.

I do think we need to try to price in negative externalities, but we need to watch out for gaming the system. It was so much easier to try to do things before people believed that our American form of government was inherently Evil.