by Michael dEstries
Categories: Entertainment, Film/TV
Tags: .

For the first time ever, James Cameron has pulled back the curtain on his private 100-acre ranch in Santa Barbara, California – offering “Nightline” viewers a stunning look at the natural wonders of the property.

Touring in a Chevy Volt, the 57-year-old director and “Nightline” anchor Bill Weir discussed the direction of the next two “Avatar” flicks, visited the solar installation powering his ranch, and touched upon how he plans on greening his film production process.

Some highlights:

Going Solar

Cameron says that he’s not only been “off-the-grid” for years, but also designed the property’s lone wind turbine. We already knew he was planning on adding solar to his new production studio – but apparently the amount of green energy he’ll be needing requires some new technology to make it all happen; something “Nightline” says the director will spearhead into development.

“We use a lot of computer power, and so you got a lot of people at work stations. We’re drawing on a lot of wattage for all the computers and render machines,” he says in the interview. “What we’re going to do is, essentially, put a 1.2-megawatt solar power station on the roof of our new facility so we will actually be net zero in energy.

We’ll get it all from the sun to power the next two ‘Avatar’ films.“We just go to a big solar provider integrator and, you know, you work with a local utility and, so, a power-purchase agreement and the installation [can be designed],” Cameron said. “It’s actually fairly straightforward. … In California, especially, there are some good rebates available for solar, so it actually starts to make it cost-effective.”

Pandora’s Oceans Are Threatened

The sequel to “Avatar” (due out towards the end of 2013) was already confirmed to switch gears from the rainforests of Pandora to its oceans – but now it’s clear that the environmental themes will follow.

“It focuses on ocean issues,” Cameron said. “We’ve got a planet that’s a blue planet. From a distance, you look at it and Earth is a lot more blue than it is brown, you know, the landmass, and we’re making the oceans unsurvivable for a lot of the species right now. … It’s just a way to focus a little energy in that direction.”

“We will see the oceans of Pandora,” he added, ”which we haven’t seen at all, and that’s an ecosystem that I’m dying to start designing because its going to look spectacular.”

From Porsche To Chevy

In the “Nightline” segment, Cameron and Weir tour his ranch in a Chevy Volt, something Cameron admits isn’t the flashiest of vehicles, but necessary. “I used to love fast cars and big four-wheel drives, the bigger the better,” he said. “It was hard for me to give that up, but it was important.”

Check out the video below.

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About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Terry Mock

    Congratulations to James Cameron for putting his money where his mouth is and building a model project for sustainability!

    Deepening Perspectives on Sustainable Land Development

    “Opening to critical acclaim and unprecedented commercial success, James Cameron’s 3-D movie spectacle Avatar has become the fastest film to reach $1 billion in box office receipts. Here’s the plot set up – In 2154, the profit-focused RDA corporation is unsustainably mining Pandora, a lush, Earth-like moon of another planet. Pandora is inhabited by the Na’vi, a sapient species who has adapted to integrate their lives in ways that sustain their planet. The Na’vi resist the colonists’ expansion, which threatens the continued existence of the Na’vi and their ecosystem – sort of like Dances with Wolves meets Star Wars.”

    Ocean Mountain Ranch Model Sustainable Land Development

    “Located in the stewardship area headwaters along a 1000’ ridgetop overlooking old growth forest and the Redfish Rocks marine reserve, Ocean Mountain Ranch is a SLDI carbon-negative project that will provide for long-term yield of high-quality hardwood, softwood, and wildlife habitat while serving as a model organic forestry/grazing operation incorporating residential, agricultural, educational, recreational, and industrial activities to promote sustainable land development best practices on the southern Oregon coast by mixing nature, tradition, and economics for a sustainable future.” You can watch a documentary preview of this ground-breaking eco-forestry project here –

  • Mal

    James and his wife Suzy are great people who deserve to be recognized for their wonderful worldly and local actions! Their house is absolutely amazing, and the views are breathtaking!

    Many kudos to them- they employ many of the hardworking people in the entertainment industry, give to so many charities, are eco-conscious, and Suzy started and works with MUSE Elementary school!