It's instinctive in humans to search for the meaning of an event like this, once shock and grief have begun to subside. And there will be plenty of meanings to find in the ways that humans reacted as this disaster struck and in its aftermath as the relief effort begins. But except for our obligations to help the victims in any way we can, the underlying story of this tragedy is the overpowering, amoral mechanics of the earth's surface, the movement of plates that grind and shift and slide against each other with profound indifference to anything but the pressures that drive them. Whenever those forces punctuate human history, they do so tragically. They demonstrate, geologically speaking, how ephemeral our presence is.
A search of the New York Times since 1996 on the words 'global warming' produces a return set of 12,837 records. Scientists are now claiming that the Earth has not been this 'warm' since the 1500's. The opinion piece referenced above states it best, although it is doubtful that the New York Times is reversing its position on the damage your SUV is doing to the environment.
"...the overpowering, amoral mechanics of the earth's surface, the movement of plates that grind and shift and slide against each other with profound indifference to anything... "
There were no SUV's in the 1500's - what caused the Earth's warming then? The transient nature of mankind is nothing compared to the earth itself. We are but a temporary scourge on the surface of an entity that existed long before we did, and will continue to do so, long after we are gone. I think it is pompous for humankind to believe that it even has the capability to exert such forces as to destroy the earth. And the earth has ways of letting us know...