The film’s environmental message has been undercut by a push to purchase 3D technology and consign old TVs to the waste stream
A US environmental group has criticised the companies behind science fiction film Avatar for promoting 3D technology, which the charity believes will lead to consumers unnecessarily upgrading TVs and consigning the old technology to the waste stream.
In a blog posting late last week, Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition campaign director Lauren Ornelas said that while she applauds the environmental message at the heart of the film, the organisations behind it are guilty of a certain level of hypocrisy for indirectly encouraging consumers to trade-in functional TVs simply to take advantage of 3D technology.
“I was really hopeful that the strong message from Avatar would make people understand the need to protect our planet and not simply purchase a new TV,” she stated. “Although I truly enjoyed the 3D version and felt the experience was amazing, I would, without a doubt, prefer to experience parts of the world, such as Africa, without it being mined away to make new TV components or used as our dumping ground for those same TVs after a mere 1-2 years of use.”
Ornelas likened the move from 2D to 3D technology as akin to the ongoing upgrade from analogue to digital TV. “With the recent switchover from analogue TVs to digital TVs, a need to extract rare metals buried in the earth to make new TVs and an influx of electronic waste (e-waste) were created as people tossed out their old analogue TV,” she stated. “This pattern will happen again when consumers get rid of their old digital and HD TV’s and purchase new 3D TVs.”
Late last year, consumer electronics and technology giant Sony Corporation and 3-D technology company RealD, which provided some of the 3D technology behind Avatar, announced a partnership aiming to provide immersive 3-D home entertainment to consumers beginning in 2010
Earlier this year, environmental campaign group Greenpeace stepped up its campaign against the illegal export of waste electronics to Africa and other continents with the launch of an interactive map which details how the material is shipped from developed countries to be broken down often in crude conditions in the countries such as Ghana and Nigeria.