I have just come home from seeing Avatar and Wow and double Wow! What a movie!
James Cameron has done what the Doofuzz Dudes have been trying to do since book one in the series – alert the world to what mankind has become – so far removed from nature that all that matters to it is money, profit and more money and profit.
In the back of the Blood Tree I wrote about how King Charlemagne chopped down the sacred tree of the pagans all those years ago thus severing man’s link to nature. I was knocked out to see how the humans in Avatar had brought a tonne of dynamite to blow up the sacred tree of the inhabitants (the Na’vi) of the planet Pandora because under the tree’s roots was an extremely valuable metal.
But then, even as we watched the movie, hundreds of hectares of rainforest in Indonesia, the Amazon and probably Australia, had been burnt down, logged or blasted.
When did we decide that everything would be all right as long as we had heaps of money and possessions? When did we decide that the lives of animals were worthless? When did we lose our bond with nature?
And are we happier for it? Apparently not. There were quite a few suicides related to the current financial crisis – people who couldn’t go on due to their monetary losses. People feel empty inside – they are stuffing a big hole inside themselves with more and more money and ‘things’.
But how happy were the inhabitants of the planet Pandora? The joy of sitting in front of a computer in an office for eight hours of every day or the joy of battling to get on board an overcrowded train twice a day could hardly be compared with the joy they experienced in their daily lives, flying on wonderous birds, riding amazing horse-like animals and running through the jungle.
And was the audience barracking for the humans? Were they hoping that the humans would be able to chop down the sacred tree and get their mineral quota?
I don’t think so! Could this be because deep inside of all of us is the memory of Irminsul, the sacred tree of the pagans? Somewhere in our genetic memories is our connection to that tree and to nature. If only we could find that bond with nature again. Maybe then we could be kind to the animals who share the earth with us and also to the last vestiges of greenery that still stand.
However, it is exhilarating that people like James Cameron in Avatar and Dr.Seuss in The Lorax are making us aware that there are choices. And maybe it’s still not too late.
Post Script – Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with my sentiments. Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/hit-by-the-leftie-sledgehammer-20100101-llpp.html has quite a different view. She sees the movie as an attack on the US military and on humans in general. Actually, I don’t think that it is at all improbable that a company searching for a valuable mineral would employ soldiers to travel to another planet and instruct them to employ force to overcome the inhabitants of the planet (‘savages’) and destroy their ‘flaky pagan’ religious artefacts if they stood in the way of the goal. I suppose that if natives or aliens for that matter, have a religion which doesn’t have the right credentials in Miss Devine’s eyes, then they jolly well deserve to get what’s coming to them.
New Guinea is hardly another planet, but mining companies have dumped contaminated waste in the rivers which is destroying the environment, killing fish and natives.
River of poison
Each year, Tolukuma Gold Mine – formerly owned by Australian-based Emperor Mines Ltd – dumps more than 230,000 tonnes of mine waste into the Auga-Angabanga river system.
It’s a mining practice that’s illegal in Australia, but companies can get away with it in Papua New Guinea, and it’s destroying people’s lives.
“Please don’t do it to us … what you do not do in your own countries,” says local resident and Oxfam partner Matilda Koma.
This is why.
Communities living downstream from the mine report that:
- People have become sick or died from drinking and washing in the river
- Fish have died and food gardens have been destroyed, threatening their food supply
- Changes in the river flow have caused flash flooding, making it difficult for locals to cross the river and access their market gardens
In 1996 the following was written on http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P1-2272355.html
Inter Press Service English News Wire
LONDON, May 13 (IPS) — The mining of minerals from coal to
uranium has transformed mountains into craters and turned rivers
the color of blood, said representatives of indigenous peoples from
some 50 communities around the world, gathered in London this week.
From Namibia in southern Africa to Siberia near the Arctic
circle, from French Guyana on the north-eastern shoulder of South
America to Fiji in the South Pacific, speakers are in London for
the 6-16 May Consultation on Indigenous People and Mining,
organized by the World …Pratap Chatterjee
Inter Press Service English News Wire
So, Miranda Devine, if mining companies do that on earth, do you really think they would act ethically on other planets?