What Will It Take?

The story packed just the right amount of edge-of-your seat tension and heartwarming triumph that an imminent Hollywood screenplay is inevitable. It’s impossible not to have gotten caught up in the mainstream media’s coverage of the emotional rescue of the trapped Chilean coal miners. I, myself, couldn’t help but get choked up upon seeing these brave soles hug their families after emerging from being underground for 70 days.

But there was another similar story that hasn’t gotten quite as much media attention here in the U.S.: Contact has been lost with 29 men trapped underground after a Nov. 19 coal-mine explosion in New Zealand. Making the situation especially grave is that experts say the toxicity levels of poisonous gas make the odds of survival slim.

This tragedy comes practically on the heels of another coal-mine disaster that killed 25 people in West Virginia this past spring, among countless others throughout history.

In combination with the far-reaching environmental effects of the recent oil spill in the Gulf — and without making any real political statements — I can’t help but ask myself, what will it take for humans to realize that these “traditional” forms of energy are just not the answer? How many people have to die?

Of course, it’s not just the deaths of these poor workers. The legacy of this generation’s choices will have much, much wider implications for the planet in the long run.

For what it’s worth, we are making some headway. Wind and solar power are staking out their spots in the global energy market, and electric vehicles are set to make their foray into the quasi-mainstream. The seeds are planted. We are just in desperate need of some Miracle Grow.

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