James Cameron: A Vegan For The Environment


“You can’t be an environmentalist, you can’t be an ocean steward, without truly walking the walk. And you can’t walk the walk in the world of the future, the world ahead of us, the world of our children, not eating a plant-based diet.” 

-James Cameron

It’s not surprising to hear these words from the writer and director of the epic movie Avatar (2009) which is known to carry strong environmental messages about the destructive ways we treat our planet. The movie touches upon themes such as our connectedness to the earth and to each other, and our exploitation of rain forests, indigenous peoples, and the undeveloped world. In an interview with Charlie Rose about Avatar, Cameron has stated that “we are going to go through a lot of pain and heartache if we don’t acknowledge our stewardship responsibilities to nature.”

images-2Considering the environmental themes of Avatar, and reading about how much James Cameron was concerned about the destruction of our environment when he made the movie, I’ve often wondered why he didn’t adopt a plant-based diet until years later. Perhaps he needed a bit of time to have the “epiphany” he described while accepting his Explorer of the Year Award in June at the 125th National Geographic gala for his successful solo dive to the deepest point of the Pacific Ocean. Speaking to the world’s greatest scientists and explorers, Cameron urged the audience to go vegan as he did one year before his acceptance speech…


“I’ve had an epiphany recently. I want to challenge all of you as people of deep conscience, people who are environment stewards of the earth and oceans…By changing what you eat, you will change the entire contract between the human species and the natural world.”

Referring to his switch to a vegan diet, Cameron stated…

“I felt like I was waking up from a long sleepwalk. I believe we are all sleepwalking off a cliff if we don’t do this.”


I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that James Cameron didn’t go vegan sooner because he may have been unaware that the most significant thing anyone could possibly do to help our environment is to adopt a plant-based diet. The important issues related to animal cruelty and health might be the ones most often associated with veganism. However, many people would be surprised to learn that, in 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a report stating that…

“livestock production is one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.”

More recently, Bill Gates has said…

“Moving towards a vegetarian diet is important in light of the environmental impacts of large-scale meat and dairy production, with livestock estimated to produce nearly 51% of the world’s greenhouse gases.”

In an article on the website AlterNet called The Startling Effects of Going Vegetarian for Just One Day, Kathy Freston cites, among other amazing facts, her favorite statistic…

“According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”

In view of these facts, I’m very glad that James Cameron finally had his “epiphany” because when James Cameron does something, he does it big. You saw Titanic, didn’t you?  I’m not shocked that when he decided to adopt a plant-based diet, he did that in a big way too!


There was an impressive article in the L.A. Times Homes recently, about the 100-acre mini farm near Santa Barbara owned by Suzy Amis Cameron and James Cameron called the Hollister Ranch. The article states that James Cameron wrote Avatar on this tranquil 100-acre parcel which has inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean.

Apparently, when the Cameron family switched to a plant-based diet a year and a half ago after watching Forks Over Knives (what a documentary!), they got serious about growing their own food. They hired a garden consultant who specializes in organic farms, to help them turn what had been an empty field into a thriving garden with more than 150 different crops including arugula, Brussel sprouts, beets, carrots and lettuces. More than 15 trees were added, including fig, peach, plum, and pomegranate. Fruits, vegetables and flowers are planted according to the moon phases, and the farm’s success is rooted in biodiversity that keeps the ground fertile.

I love the fact that the mini farm provides the Camerons with about 90% of the food they eat. Amis Cameron was quoted in the article as saying…

“It is fascinating how it has changed the way we feel: We are so energetic and full of life. The garden has brought our family together. We now have a tendency to spend more time in the kitchen together.”

In a recent article on Care 2 Know, James Cameron was quoted as follows….

“I’m healthier, I’ve got more energy, my cardio endurance has about doubled…It’s amazing, but setting aside the health benefits, how often do you get that kind of incredible win-win, where you can really transform the planet, and it’s actually possible?”

In my opinion, James Cameron has become the ultimate environmentalist and ocean steward because he is “truly walking the walk in the world of the future, the world ahead of us, the world of our children.” I wonder what it will take for Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio to do the same, don’t you?

Click here to read the L.A. Times Home article about the Hollister Ranch.

Click here to read more about James Cameron in VAP’s article On VAP’s Celebrity Radar










  1. I wish more people who cared about the environment would choose a vegan diet. It’s so frustrating not to even see it mentioned as a solution from big groups like Climate Reality and others. Hooray to James and his family for going public with this important message and thanks Debby for the great post about it!

    • I agree with you Janie. I see Al Gore on TV talking about the environment all the time, and he never mentions veganism as a solution. So disappointing! Thanks for your lovely and insightful comment!

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