Post-Avatar Depression Leading to Environmental Activism?

(Courtesy of 20th Century Fox/WETA)

Bioluminescent plants, floating mountains and an array of biodiversity are only some of the things those suffering from “Post Avatar Depression” feel lost without. In a recent CNN article, James Cameron’s Avatar is the precursor to over a thousand posts on the online forum “Ways to cope with the depression of the dream of Pandora being intangible,” a growing number of sympathizers with the common feeling of connection to the Avatar world Pandora and an estrangement with the comparatively drab Earth we live in.

The forum administrator, Philippe Baghdassarian told CNN, “The movie was so beautiful and it showed something we don't have here on Earth. I think people saw we could be living in a completely different world and that caused them to be depressed."

Cameron created a world where the indigenous Na’vi respected the nature around them and lived in harmony with their surroundings that become threatened by humans bent on mining unobtanium while demolishing the landscape. In defense of their home and environment, the Na’vi take up arms and the ensuing battle for Pandora begins.

The environmental message is unmistakable: Continue to treat the planet with disregard, and we’re in for it big time.

The romance, drama and big explosions are all there, but the box-office breaking blockbuster is doing more than destroying records, it’s leaving long term effects on its viewers.

The user Eltu posted in the forum, “I actually dreamt of being on Pandora last night, and I felt so happy. When I woke up this morning however, I felt a terrible sense of loss. I had this EXACT depression feeling like so many of you have described. It felt like I did nothing with my life. I'm studying game design, but now this feels so... meaningless. I also thought of Earth as an incredibly ugly place…I think that I will be a better person henceforth.”

To cope, some contributors of the forum are listening to the Avatar soundtrack while some have returned to the theatres for the fourth, fifth and sixth times. Some, however, are suggesting adopting a lifestyle like the indigenous people in the movie.

A post by the user Neytiri, the name of the film’s love interest and native Na’vi, read, “Start living like Neytiri: in touch with nature, the environment, and not being greedy and wasteful. Pass on the burger, for something more healthy for you and less cruel to animals…Be the change you want to see in your world. There are only so many people on this earth, the more of them that are doing positive things, the less of them that are out there doing negative things.”

Perhaps this is all too much. Can we really expect a world of cinema graphics ten years in the making to create an environmental movement? Maybe. Maybe not. 

This film, perhaps more than the typical environmental documentary or tv series, has struck a chord with mainstream America by letting them experience what it might be like to live a life connected with nature rather than citing facts about greenhouse gases and talking about melting glaciers.
It might be far-fetched, but if this movie has left any of its viewers who contributed to its $1.5 billion in sales worldwide with an urgency for environmental activism, I’m all for it.

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