James Cameron’s environmental advocacy has grown in lockstep with his skyrocketing fame and financial success. Avatar — the story of a futuristic race of blue-skinned, indigenous people battling rapacious miners and their soil-destroying claw machines — is an allegory about the cost of long-term ecological disaster for short-term profit.

It has amassed close to $3 billion US in global ticket sales.

Earlier this year Cameron, 56, offered the technical expertise gleaned on such underwater movies as Titanic and The Abyss to try to help stop the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.