Butterfly Effect and Environment: Cause and Solution

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But the man who knows the relation between the forces of Nature and actions, sees how some forces of Nature work on other forces of Nature, and becomes not their slave…….Bhagavad Gita

“All things are connected” a profound message from “Chief” Seattle, a leader of Native American tribes… though strange at the time, has recently been accepted by physicists who study the interconnectedness of energy and matter.

Butterfly effect - the phenomenon where a minute change in a complex system can have large scale effects in the same system or elsewhere. Although the concept has been around since 1890, the Butterfly Effect gained popular acceptance in 1961 due to weather prediction modeling performed by meteorologist Edward Lorenz who coined the term. It is derived from the metaphorical example that he gave in his speech in 1972 that when a butterfly flaps its wings somewhere a typhoon occurs elsewhere. While this is not actually true it tells that a very small change can cause drastic effects in the near future, which can be a positive or negative change.  Lorenz discovered the effect when he ran his weather model with initial condition data that was rounded in a seemingly inconsequential manner which failed to reproduce the results of runs with the unrounded initial condition data. A very small decimal change in initial conditions had created a significantly different outcome. This can be seen in planet earths evolution.

Chaos theory, a branch of mathematics dealing with behavior of dynamical systems and butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. A difference of 1.2% between our DNA genome and a chimpanzee has led to this present hi tech world. Just a mere 1.2% made us the superior being on this planet.

Butterfly effect also can be seen in the Environment Scenario. First it started with the green house emissions from our daily emissions which over the years slowly started to diminish the ozone layer in turn causing many global catastrophes. Just imagine ozone layer getting disappeared due to a small perfume spray bottle and other insignificantly smaller sources of CFC which is causing a very significant effect on the global environment and ecosystem. Just a single person is not the cause but as a whole, humans are to be blamed.

But a solution can also be derived from these kinds of mistakes. A lot of people doing small local things can literally make a world of difference. The basic idea of the Butterfly Effect is that tiny changes you make in fact make a big difference. And when those tiny changes are made by millions of people, we can truly make a real difference in how much nature we can save for our children, grandchildren, and beyond.

Yes, our actions, regardless how insignificant they may seem, have results beyond imagination. Not only can they impact our environment, they reach others in ways in which we may never be aware. So if there is a possibility that everything is actually connected then we have to try to make sure that we all connect and proceed in a positive way, collectively, which will have a huge impact on safeguarding the environment.

Tiny and Collective Actions can save the Earth.

Author:  S Deepak Mohan Reddy, B.Tech (Biotechnology; First Year), CBIT, Hyderabad.

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Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator
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