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People aren't holding back their opinions on 'Avatar' director James Cameron's philanthropic plans: 'Not exactly fair'

"Maybe ensure profit sharing with local communities would be better."

James Cameron

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Film director James Cameron has just announced his plans to support Indigenous communities who oppose lithium mining in South America via his Avatar Alliance Foundation, AP News reports.

Lithium is a valuable metal because it's an essential part of most rechargeable batteries today, including electric vehicle batteries. As the demand for clean energy storage and electric vehicles grows, manufacturers need more lithium.

However, mining lithium can damage the environment and people around the site, and Indigenous communities are most often affected. While the damage isn't as severe as the pollution caused by dirty energy options like oil and coal, it's still a real problem.

According to AP News, a large portion of the lithium in the world currently comes from the "lithium triangle" in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. James Cameron told a group of journalists at his Buenos Aires hotel that he recently received an invitation to speak about environmentally friendly energy solutions at a conference in Argentina.

However, Cameron said, "I feel like I walked into an ambush. I feel like I was put into an optic that had meaning that I wasn't aware of."

According to Cameron, he didn't know lithium mining would be part of the agenda, and he felt his inclusion falsely portrayed his support of the industry. However, after his visit, Gov. Gerardo Morales of Argentina's Jujuy Province posted a social media message thanking Cameron and speaking about the province's intention to "transform the energy matrix" with lithium mining, AP News reports.

Cameron said he also received a letter from 33 Indigenous communities in the area who are in opposition to the mining operations, asking him to hear their side. After meeting with Verónica Chávez, the representative of an Indigenous community in Jujuy, Cameron said, "I am now aware of the problem, and we will now assist through my foundation with the issue of Indigenous rights with respect to lithium extraction."

James Cameron
Photo Credit: u/DoremusJessup / Reddit

Reddit commenters were skeptical about the effort. "I wish his focus would be on sustainable mining practices rather than completely stopping mining," said one commenter. "The rest of the world will keep polluting longer the higher the price of lithium stays. Not exactly fair, but that's capitalism."

"Maybe ensure profit sharing with local communities would be better," suggested another user.

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