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James Cameron's 'Avatar' films run on clean energy (+video)

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(Read caption) Director James Cameron discusses the future of 3-D film.
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Leave it to James Cameron to harness the power of the sun in pursuit of entertainment. 

In 2011 the director behind a generation of blockbusters, including "Titanic" and the "Terminator" films, committed to using solar energy for the production of the two planned sequels to his 2009 mega hit "Avatar" – the highest-grossing film of all time. Now, he appears to have made good on his word.

Last month, Stellar Energy announced the completion of a 960-kilowatt solar array built for Lightstorm Entertainment Inc., Mr.Cameron's production company.

The array will allow filmmakers to rely exclusively on solar to power production of the Avatar sequels while offsetting over 1,034 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the California-based solar energy developer. 

"Going into Avatar 2 and 3, we are going to be able produce enough solar energy to handle the entire electrical demand for our computers and performance capture systems here at MBS Media Campus,” Cameron said in a press release. “We have to do this for the future, for our children, and as a moral responsibility to the planet.”

It's just one part of Cameron's larger vision for a greener Hollywood. Movies can take a toll on mother nature. The energy it takes to fuel the high-powered lights, cameras and other equipment on set adds up, as does the waste generated by hundreds of cast and crew members who populate the average production.

In recent years, movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford have been outspoken about environmental issues. Cameron takes the cause to a new level, embracing the spirit in the minutiae of his everyday work—expressing concern, as he did in a 2010 interview with the Washington Post, about the environmental impact of DVD discs and their packaging. 

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The attention to detail reflects his work on global environmental causes, including the BP oil spill and conservation efforts in the Amazon.

"I was involved in a protest down in Brazil to try to stop a big dam project that’s going to displace 25,000 indigenous people down there in the Amazon," Cameron told the Post. "And that’s like 'Avatar' for real," Cameron added, referencing the resource-depletion themes evident in the film.

"I mean, these are guys with bows and arrows and war paint that are gonna go to war against the government and the big utility's bulldozers when they show up to start making this dam," Cameron said in the interview. "It’s like the real deal." 

For now, Cameron will likely have a full plate inventing stories for his fictional Avatars. But, lest you fret over your favorite movie's carbon footprint, rest assured that Cameron is working to offset it.

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