May 12, 2010

Cameron suffering "cause fatigue"

More on James Cameron's commitment to indigenous causes:

Talking the Amazon with CameronAfter meeting with the Kayapo Indians, “real life Na’vi,” as Cameron put it, the director got inspired and has been campaigning for indigenous peoples. Cameron says the Belo Monte boondoggle dam planned for the Amazon is a “quintessential example of the type of thing we are showing in Avatar—the collision of a technological civilization’s vision for progress at the expense of the natural world and the cultures of the indigenous people that live there.”

On a tear in New York, he spoke before a United Nations committee on aboriginal rights and even launched an environmental scholarship at Brooklyn Tech high school. Not content to stop there, he updated the Avatar website to keep fans informed about environmental issues and sponsored the planting of a million trees around the world as part of Earth Day.
But is Cameron's interest already waning?Having prevailed over the conventional logic and directed a mega hit with an environmental message, the real question now is how Cameron sees his role moving forward. When he made Avatar, Cameron didn’t imagine that people would interpret the movie as a call to action. In fact, he remarked, “I figured I’d be on vacation right now. I figured I’d make my big statement with the movie and let everyone else sort out what to do. Turns out there aren’t that many people figuring out what to do…. I think we’re facing [an environmental] crisis and I’m not going to stand around and leave it to someone else to deal with it.”

Those are energetic words, but when I saw Cameron speak in New York I got the impression that the director was a little overwhelmed by his new role. When one man stood up and asked Cameron if the director would help to save tribes from going culturally extinct in Colombia, the director frankly admitted he was suffering from “cause fatigue.” Later, when Quichua indigenous women got up and offered Cameron a ceremonial scarf, the director looked slightly taken aback.
Comment:  "There aren't that many people figuring out what to do" about the environment? Really? I would've guessed there was no shortage of people concerned about climate change, deforestation, and other environmental issues.

And Cameron's already feeling fatigued? After what...a month or two of challenging Brazil's hydroelectric dam? I've been studying Native issues for 20 years and I'm not much more than a dilettante. What does that make Cameron?

As I wrote in Cameron to Visit Oilsands?, start an organization, dude. Use you money to hire people and your clout to bring in other celebrities, open doors, and arrange meetings.

For more on the subject, see Dam Suspended with Cameron's Help and Cameron's Conversion to Environmentalist.


Anonymous said...

Al Gore has also been speaking out in recent years. Along with a host of people from around the world including indigeneous. But at that same time, people should also be wary of environmental hypocrites like the disgraced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who is also speaking on environmental issues. But last time I checked, her entire political career is based on the notion of "Drill Baby Drill". Simply put it, if we had Sarah Palin as president. There is no doubt in mind that we would being witnessing more environmental castrophe like that recent massive oil spill/explosion in the Gulf.


dmarks said...

Cameron's "fatigue" sounds like a modern variation the "White Man's Burden".

Geno said: "There is no doubt in mind that we would being witnessing more environmental castrophe like that recent massive oil spill/explosion in the Gulf."

No need for Sarah Palin in order for this to happen. Two or six more years of Barack Obama will do the trick. He had 15 months in office, plenty of time to tighten up regulations on offshire drilling that many have long thought were lax. But he never bothered. It was far more important to give out unprecedented corporate welfare to Wall Street. He also didn't campaign on it, and it never got a mention from him during two cycles of setting Presidential priorities for the year.

You can't blame the imagined Presidential policies of a woman who is not President, or is likely to be.

Anonymous said...

In contrast, what do you think of Q'orianka's foundation and her pro-indigenous advocacy?

Rob said...

Here's some of what Obama's policies have achieved so far:

[N]ow, 19 months after Congress voted to spend $700 billion on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, we're starting to get a long-term sense of the effort's true cost, and its effect. And when you look at the amount of money that the government now stands to make back -- not to mention the widespread expert view that the bailout succeeded in its prime purpose of stabilizing the economy -- it could just be that we've been able to rescue our economy from the brink of a depression for a relatively low price. And so, an unlikely question arises: Was the bailout, far from being a disastrous, dishonest failure, really more like one of the most successful programs ever?

We still can't know what the final price-tag for the bailout -- by which we mean not just the Treasury's TARP program for banks, but also the efforts to prop up Fannie and Freddie and the automakers, and additional spending programs by the Federal Reserve -- will come out to. But it now seems clear that that $700 billion figure cited as the cost of the TARP alone was way too high. Pro Publica records that of $536.3 billion that the Treasury has dispersed to date on the TARP and the programs to rescue Fannie and Freddie, $216.8 billion has already been returned, either through banks paying the money back, or through dividends generated. That still leaves $319.5 billion outstanding, but most estimates are that as the health of the financial sector continues to improve, much of that figure too will return to the government's coffers.

Federal, state and local income taxes consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

Why the tax bite has eased:

• Stimulus law. One-third of last year's $862 billion economic stimulus went for tax cuts. Biggest reduction: The Making Work Pay tax credit reduced income taxes $800 for married couples earning up to $150,000.

• Progressive tax rates. Presidents Clinton and Bush pushed through a series of tax changes — credits, lower rates, higher exemptions — that slashed income taxes for poor and middle-class families. A drop in income now can trigger big tax breaks and sharply lower rates, sometimes falling to zero.

Rob said...

I've reported on Q'orianka Kilcher's efforts before. For instance, in:

Celebrity fundraiser against domestic violence

"Sedition" and "savages" in Peru

Hannah and Kilcher in Ecuador

I'd say she's a model for how Native celebrities should use their fame to accomplish things.