James Cameron's environmental passions have been on full display ever since "Avatar" arrived on the screen, but it has been less clear whether his role would be one of messenger or innovator. There are all kinds of avenues to take when it comes to encouraging a more sustainable planet, and it appears that the 56-year-old director has finally settled on one.

Outside the first-ever INK (Innovation & Knowledge) Conference last weekend, Cameron told reporters that the energy crisis is a giant concern for him. "The key to these issues is global energy policy. There is a need to find out alternative sources of energy," he told reporters.

"We are really not working fast to solve the problem ... we are not even close to it. There is a need to address the problem of greenhouse gas emissions," he added. "Renewable energy is the answer to these issues, and I [would] like to invest my time, energy, resources and money in exploring alternate energy solutions to address the cause."

Coming from Cameron, that's actually a bigger deal than it might appear. The guy likes to invent, improve, and engineer like few other directors. Beyond past achievements, he's currently helping NASA develop an advanced 3-D camera for future Mars rovers, and is designing and testing a new submersible to dive to the bottom of the 36,000-foot Mariana Trench. So when he says he's interested in developing renewable energy, you can bet his involvement will extend a great deal beyond just signing a name to a check.

In other news, Cameron and "Avatar" producer Jon Landau recently teamed up to give away 11 Priuses to principal actors involved in the film. According to Ecorazzi, the gifts were bonuses for the $2.6 billion box office draw of the epic — though the $250,000 spent on the cars is a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $300 million (and counting) that Cameron personally received. Still, nice gesture.

Now go and revolutionize the energy industry with the rest of it.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

James Cameron wants to develop clean energy solutions
'Avatar' director says he would like to focus his time and money on renewables to help fight climate change.