As Avatar grosses over a billion dollars in sales, it seems obvious that, as Steven Colbert said, “it is bound to have a huge cultural impact,” leaving one to wonder: ‘exactly what sort of impact?’ One immediate impact it appears to be having (as reported by CNN) is a documented sense of depression, known as the Avatar Blues, after having experienced a planet so beautiful and a way of life so ideal that viewers feel disillusioned with their real planet.  And it’s true, Pandora is an astoundingly beautiful world, and there are sections of our planet that contain little natural beauty, and portions of our society that already resemble the unfeeling, imperialist corporate antagonist of the film.

Yet it is precisely that which makes the message of this movie so important.  The possibility of this movie inspiring an invigorated world-wide interest in environmentalism is truly stirring.  The messages of the movie; that the humans have “killed their mother” and that “there is no green” left on planet earth, that human actions are mainly destructive and motivated by greed, are warnings to present generations.  The beauty of Pandora and the simpler, nearly utopian existence of the Na’vi is an admonition to our society to stop destroying our own naturally wonderous planet.

Those who are experiencing the Avatar Blues must heed the call to make their experience more significant.   To those who are encountering the Pandora Depression: do not despair!  See the movie as many times as you like, but the best treatment is not to dream-walk in a fantasy world, but to go forth and make your own planet more like Pandora.  Learn about landscaping and turn your boring and often-times wasteful yard into a garden paradise.  If you have no outside space of your own, start growing plants inside your apartment.  Work to create parks and green ways in your city.  Explore sustainable architecture and green building.  Buy local, buy ethically, and boycott harmful, overgrown corporationsExercise your rights as  a citizen of discourse, choice, voting, and most importantly free speech to steer your society towards environmentalism and progress.  Speak out against and fight overpopulation.  Immerse yourself in sustainable living.  Join the fight to save this planet from the abysmal future of Earth that James Cameron envisioned.  Feel better about your world and about your life by actively making things better.  The environmental movement needs your support!

But while the focus of the media is on the confusing and seemingly somewhat adolescent sense of loss these movie-goers are experiencing, concentrating on comments from discussion forums about sadness and suicide, thoughtful responses are being made and the movie is having a far more important impact than merely causing depression.  Responses like this one from Neytiri on encompass the more meaningful solution perfectly, and are being repeated and discussed there over and over:

Start living like Neytiri: in touch with nature, the environment, and not being greedy and wasteful. Pass on the burger, for something more healthy for you and less cruel to animals. Spend your time on this forum, or volunteering in your free time, instead of getting high or drinking, twiddling your thumbs, being apathetic and complaining about how bad the world is. Don’t get swept away by the wave of negativity, live your dream. Your life has only two switches, to shine or not to shine. There is no “apathy” setting. If you’re on apathy setting you might as well sign your world away to destruction. When you get discouraged by everyone around you, be courageous like Jake, and jump on the leonopteryx. Be the change you want to see in your world. There are only so many people on this earth, the more of them that are doing positive things, the less of them that are out there doing negative things. It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where, just by pulling a trigger or making a corporate decision, one single greedy human being can wipe out the hard works of love of many people. But this is why we need to stop focusing on money and start focusing on our environment. Because we have the intelligence to kill ourselves, but not the wisdom to stop it. What will our money buy, when everything that is worth having is destroyed? The only way you can fill the emptiness you feel after this movie, is to jump on the

Change is happening in people’s minds.  Hope remains.  Seldom does popular culture have such a capacity to alter society’s political mindset and way of life.  It may be that Avatar will do little more than support the growth-centric corporate ways of its own ‘bad guys’ by merely selling vast numbers of movie tickets, fast food meals, and merchandise.   But, with just a modicum of thoughtfulness and resolve from the people, this movie will inspire generations to a renewed effort in conservation and social progress.  If you’ve seen the movie, if you have an inkling of what is described here or felt the Pandora depression yourself, it but remains up to you to act and make the difference!