Film director James Cameron poses for photographers prior to the opening of the movie Avatar in Davos, Switzerland in January. ((Virginia Mayo/Associated Press))

Avatar director-turned-activist James Cameron says Alberta's oilsands are a "black eye" to his native country's image as an environmental leader.

The Canadian-born filmmaker says he wants to learn more about the controversial Athabasca Oil Sands Project after being contacted by indigenous groups concerned by its impact.

Calling it a "wrong solution" and a "dead-end paradigm," Cameron questions why Canada is spending billions on extracting crude oil when it could spend those funds on wind turbines.

Cameron, who was born in Kapuskasing, Ont., says he expects to learn more about the issues this weekend when he meets with the secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

The Hollywood heavyweight has spent the past several months speaking out on various green issues, including a Brazilian dam project that threatens to displace 25,000 people.

His 3D epic Avatar is set for release on DVD and Blu-ray on Thursday, which is also Earth Day.

Cameron said he was only peripherally familiar with the tar sands controversy but would like to know more and would consider adding it to his growing list of eco-causes.

"I think it's bad, I think it's the wrong solution," Cameron said Tuesday from his home in Los Angeles.

"For us to be doing greater and greater environmental damage, pursuing a dead-end paradigm, which is fossil fuels instead of spending those billions … on building wind turbines. Those same areas are a great wind belt and we could be generating … wind energy out of the same place. Why aren't we doing that?"