James Cameron releases “A Message from Pandora”

HollywoodNews.com: “Avatar” creator James Cameron’s short new documentary “A Message from Pandora,” casts a timely spotlight on an epic battle to stop the massive Belo Monte Dam in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest. The twenty-minute short, a real-life “Avatar” story, was released this week as a special feature on the “Avatar” Extended Collector’s Edition DVD at a critical moment when the Brazilian government is on the verge of deciding whether construction can begin on the world’s 3rd largest hydroelectric dam project.

James Cameron and cast members of “Avatar” including Sigourney Weaver and Joel David Moore traveled to the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon, in March and April accompanied by Amazon Watch. They visited indigenous and riverbank communities who would be affected by the Dam. Moved by the parallels between “Avatar” and the frontline battles taking place in the Amazon, Cameron made a commitment to help.

“I hope “Avatar” fans will watch ‘A Message from Pandora’ and join me in urging the Brazilian Government to reconsider the Belo Monte dam. We need to encourage governments everywhere to choose greener energy alternatives like energy efficiency, wind and solar energy,” said James Cameron. “In “Avatar” I refer to Earth as ‘the dying Planet.’ In reality, our Earth IS in peril. Future generations depend on the actions we take over the next decade.”

The $17 billion dam project would divert nearly the entire flow of the Xingu River along a 62-mile stretch; its reservoirs would flood some 100,000 acres, displace more than 40,000 people and generate methane — a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2. Belo Monte is one of more than 60 dams Brazil plans to build in the Amazon over the next 20 years.

The Brazilian government will soon decide whether to give the Norte Energia consortium a green light to start building access roads and work camps. Last week the Federal Public Ministry urged Brazil’s environmental protection agency, IBAMA not issue a partial installation license until Norte Energia complies with social and environmental conditions. IBAMA’s technical team also released a technical assessment recommending strongly against the license. It remains to be seen whether IBAMA sides with its technical staff or allows the consortium to start construction.

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