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    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Environmental Avatar?
March 2, 2010 - 5:36pm

Life is pretty busy right now, both personally and professionally. It's not that I don't have time to write a post, it's more like I don't have time/attention to sort out in my own head what I want to write. Then along comes something that needs little or no sorting, at least in its interrogative incarnation.

According to Grist (one of the myriad newsletters to hit my in-box every day), James Cameron addressed a Hollywood fundraiser for the Natural Resources Defense Council. During his remarks, he claimed (with characteristic humility) to be the greatest environmental film director of all time.

Now I'll be the first to acknowledge that Avatar was about the environment, but only on the same level that The Thirty-Nine Steps was about aircraft engine design. More emotional impact, perhaps, but as I was walking out of the movie theater, I don't remember anyone chattering about how they needed to run right out and save the environment.

So the question is: will the environmental McGuffen in Avatar have any effect on people's perceptions in the long term? The short term? Even the instant?

And more seriously -- since popular fiction has a significant impact on popular perception, can any commercially successful movie/television show/novel (graphic or otherwise) really help firm up people's positive perceptions of sustainability, or is the very concept of huge commercial success just to antithetical for that to work? If it could work, what would it have to include? Look like? Feel like?

'Tis a puzzlement.

 

 

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