He may have been defeated by his ex-wife at the Oscars on Sunday, but it looks like James Cameron is on track to win the world popularity contest. A tribe from the Indian subcontinent has appealed to the “powerful thought leader” and film director to help them save their sacred mountain from a mining company. “Avatar is real,” states the press release, exhorting Cameron by name, who claimed last year that his movie was the perfect recruiting tool for eco terrorists.
But perhaps the weirdest side effects of Avatar is that it’s become a tool for publicists with eco clients and that Variety is being turned into an ecological publication. Last week, a bunch of environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace and Earthworks, clubbed together to buy a full-page ad in the Hollywood trade magazine, and this week it’s the turn of the Survival charity.
“Just as the Na’vi describe the forest of Pandora as ‘their everything,’ for the Dongria Kondh, life and land have always been deeply connected,” said charity director Stephen Corry. “The fundamental story of Avatar–if you take away the multi-colored lemurs, the long-trunked horses and warring androids–is being played out today in the hills of Niyamgiri.”
The bad guys this time are Vedanta, who reckon there’s bauxite in that thar hill, with an open-cast mine planned for the area, in the state of Orissa. “The mine will destroy the forests on which the Dongria Kondh depend and wreck the lives of thousands of other Kondh tribal people living in the area.” I’ve got a bit of a problem with fly-tippers in the alleyway off my house: perhaps James could lend a hand when he’s done in India.