The catalogue of human and environmental tragedies, which have either unfolded in the last year or are unfolding today, should encourage us to conclude that the world needs to evolve from our over-dependence on minerals dug up from the ground.
Lets take stock of recent events. BP's environmental disaster last year provides a lesson to all on the many challenges and risks of continuing to extract oil from our planet. This year, the popular uprisings in certain Middle Eastern states have once again reminded us of the concentrated and precarious origins of our fuel. A natural disaster in the form of earthquakes and the tragedy cause by a tsunami with the prospect of ensuing nuclear meltdowns in Japan (Explosion) has brought into focus once again the potential threat to humans of reliance on either the volatile minerals extracted from the ground or the volatile sources of those minerals. At least the earthquake and the tsunami are hard to blame on global warming, but the resulting prescription should be the same. We need to move towards cleaner, more decentralised sources of energy.
For the religious this will be a sign from above and beneath that we need to mend our ways. And the doomsayers will no doubt remind us of the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. For the non-religious this is a sign that humans have some distance to cross before they can decrease the adverse consequences of the all too frequent occurences of "Black-Swan" events. Particularly when it comes to our ill-thought out energy infrastructure. Global warming, nuclear disasters, over-dependence on volatile political regimes to supply our energy, all should produce one increasingly apparent recognition: That we need to harness all our political will and resources to create and promote new energy sources, and fast. The world has the means, and it should now match it with the will. Sources such as wind, solar, tidal and geothermal should no longer be considered merely "alternatives".