The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage. By Tom Taulli NEW YORK ( InvestorPlace) -- While investors try to anticipate next quarter's earnings results or even examine the big picture in Europe, it's really important to stand back and look at the even bigger picture. It might not be easy, but it's what top-notch investors like Berkshire Hathaway's ( BRK.A) Warren Buffett do. It takes guts and patience, but the payoff can be big. One thing to look for is secular trends, which can be powerful forces that propel growth. A big one to consider: population growth. On Halloween, the world population hit 7 billion. And according to estimates from the United Nations, it might reach 10 billion by the end of the century.
Also see: This mega-trend undoubtedly will have a variety of major impacts on investments. Here are some to focus on: Top 5 Blue-Chip Stocks To Buy
Also see: A top company in the industry is Mosaic ( MOS). It ranks No. 1 for the production of phosphates and No. 3 for potash. More importantly, the company has tremendous barriers to entry because the number of deposits is concentrated in a few areas. Never Sell These 3 Stocks Also see: There are some solutions, such as investment in irrigation, which reduces waste and helps provide cleaner water. A top company in the sector is Lindsay Corp. ( LNN). Founded in 1955, it manufactures equipment to help conserve water and lower energy and labor costs. Lindsay Corp. also has been pushing innovation through GPS systems and smartphone applications. Economy's Latest Enemy -- Mother Nature
But the fact is oil will run out, and to power the world, we need to find alternative sources of energy. One good prospect is natural gas. Over the past decade, energy companies have made great strides in using unconventional approaches-- like fracking and horizontal drilling -- to extract this resource from shale. Already, companies like Exxon have invested heavily in the category, such as with its $41 billion acquisition of XTO Energy in 2010. To play the industry, consider companies like Chesapeake Energy ( CHK) and Devon Energy ( DVN), which hold substantial reserves -- and also might be attractive buyout candidates.
IPOPlaybook , a site dedicated to the latest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of All About Short Selling and All About Commodities . Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli . As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. Top 6 Dividend Picks For November 3 Technology Stocks With A Ghastly Future BofA Customers Beat Occupy Wall Street to the Punch