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Butterfly Effect Essay


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Butterfly Effect

There are some specially endowed human beings whose years of dedication to a particular field of study enlighten the entire society to understand more about their environment. One such field of study is meteorology which aims at keeping humanity a step ahead of climatic conditions towards preparing to benefit from them or shield from adverse outcomes (Gleick & Berry, 1987). Two notable persons who made contributions to the study of geography are Arnie Gotfryd and Ed Lorenz who introduced the world to the Butterfly Effect.

Ed Lorenz made great contributions to the scientific community most importantly in understanding the underworking of the vast distinctive elements playing significant impacts on the entire climatic system. From his research, Lorenz made stunning correlations between his findings that small changes brought about by a perceivably insignificant alteration in something like a family of eddies ensured that no particular weather system followed a periodic array of outcomes (Gleick & Berry, 1987). Through the Butterfly Effect, he noted that the limitations associated with standing weather fluctuations at a minute scale resulted in scientists taking measurements at decimal points which translated to huge variations in the shorter term. For instance, the inability to have sensors located at every one foot and rising at intervals of one foot to the topmost parts of the atmosphere, then the readings of the different weather conditions could present higher accuracy measurements (Gleick & Berry, 1987). However, as temperatures are read from one sensor to the next with only a very small decimal error between them, then over a period of time or distance, the error would automatically balloon in size. He employed his prowess in developing mathematical abstracts into detailing in a theoretical and periodic way that there was order in the chaos that was the weather implying that the little impacts of minute change amongst elements in a system implied that weather patterns remain aperiodic.

Arnie Gotfryd’s work points to the notion that human beings bear the individual choice to make decision that inadvertently translate to an equal albeit more pronounced impact on the greater word (Gleick & Berry, 1987). His findings were localized to the Canadian context in which he noted the unsustainable use of environmental resources resulting in situations like the prairie drought. This in turn adversely impacted on agricultural production as well as wildlife stocks. The movement of people from the affected regions to urban regions translated to the use of agricultural areas for human habitation. The outcome of small changes by human beings in the attempt to adapt to the changing climatic conditions resulted in a massive outcome reaching to a global scale. He noted that the manner with which an individual human being reacts to emerging climatic changes can either be proactive or reactive (Gleick & Berry, 1987). A proactive approach revolves about environmental ethic allowing for well thought out strategies whose goal is to achieve greater quality of life. Conversely, the reactive way of adapting to changes is inherently destructive as it is materialistic, self-seeking, market driven and only allowing for short term benefits. Towards conserving the environment for sustainable human development, Gotfryd notes that the spiritual part of man is best suited to come up with sustainable strategies (Gleick & Berry, 1987). What may seem as an individual human action with little negative impact on the environment has the capacity to lead to a global catastrophe. Alternatively, a small good deed by one individual also has the capacity to support a healthy environmental outcome allowing for the entire worth to enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty.

There are numerous ways through which the meteorological concept of the Butterfly Effect can be applied constructively to empower not only the individual but the society as a whole. For instance, there is a call to businesses to endear towards transparency in the manner they source materials, hire labor, add value, market, and supply good to consumers. To many consumers, such an objective may not appear important. However, if one chief executive officer takes on such a path and transforms a corporation into a transparent one, the result might be other companies following suit in an attempt to maintain a comparative edge in competitive market environment. The butterfly effect of such an action is people opting towards high moral and ethical standards in all their engagements from the individual to the corporate spheres of life allowing for high standards of living across the world.

Upon reading the works of Ed Lorenz and Dr. Gotfryd, I have come to acknowledge that having robust ethical and moral standards has the potential to positively impact those close to me whether family, peers, or fellow employees. It is ok to be different as long as one is keeping to high ethical standpoints. This is the path the Lorenz took towards establishing the aperiodic nature of weather systems and thus making positive contributions not only to meteorology but to the entire scientific community in the world.

In conclusion, the Butterfly Effect offers a theoretical understanding of how a subtle anomaly in the real world translates to a larger impact in the interactions of an entire system. This not only happens in the field of geography but can also be seen to replicate in various human affairs such as in real market situations. A force by a business within a large operating environment may appear as negligible as a butterfly flapping its wings in South America results in a Tornado in Western USA. It is a theory that serves to underscore how a seemingly chaotic world reacts to the influences of presumably minute forces.



Gleick, J., & Berry, M. (1987). Chaos-Making a New Science. Nature, 330, 293.