After making the successful and popular movie Avatar (2009), James Cameron started the Avatar Home Tree Initiative. This initiative consists of building “Avatar” forests on 17 places on Earth in collaboration with local organizations. Among these places are the USA, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, The Netherlands and the UK. Totally there will be 1 million trees planted.
With this initiative the line between nature and fiction becomes increasingly vague. Of course we aren’t new to the recreation of nature. Like in the Dutch Oostvaardersplassen, where we recreated a 3000 year old landscape. But rather than recreating an ecology we believe existed some thousand years ago, the Avatar woods are about creating an environment after images rendered in a science fiction movie.
In The Netherlands the initiative is an collaboration between Twentieth Century Fox, the Dutch National Forestry Commission and the foundation wAarde (Worth Earth). The main objective of this particular project is to give nature back to today’s youth, as otherwise it wouldn’t be part of their lives anymore, except through video games and movies like Avatar. In the Avatar forests, the youth will experience nature as they know it from the movie and might be tangled by it. It will be a strange paradox of reality.
Of course the idea of creating new forests to create a more healthy environment is never a bad idea, and by using a popular movie to get attention for it, is just logical. But what will be next? Maybe Blizzard Entertainment could start creating World of Warcraft like area’s, to get their players to go outside and experience ‘nature’.