Can Flapping a sign in Denver cause a tornado in Washington D. C.?

Sometimes, when I hear about environmental regulations being rolled back, or Trump appointing more billionaires to Administrative posts, I wonder, is all our protesting and activism accomplishing anything? They are sooooo powerful and the damage is sooooo acute.
But then I remember science. And began to feel empowered again.

You see science, which is based in facts and empirical evidence—as well as a strong desire to keep things real—has shown us that the world is not what it seems. And it is not within anyone’s control. Systems are integrated and many, many variables can alter the outcome. Even something as small as a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can create tiny air currents which ultimately cause a tornado in Texas.

Sounds far fetched? Well there is evidence to back up the idea. Although the mathematics can become trying, here is just one example of the butterfly effect:

In the sixties there was a meteorologist at MIT by the name of Edward Lorenz. Lorenz was doing a computer simulation of the weather. He fed a certain set of conditions into the computer. The computer was to run out what the weather would look like months down the road. He then did a second simulation but this time, instead of drawing out the figures to six decimal points, he rounded off the figures at three decimal points. Everything else was the same. But after two months of simulated weather prediction, the two programs were showing wildly different weather! Lorenz realized that the only difference between the programs occurred the forth decimal place but over time, the difference increased exponentially. (FYI: Lorenz become one of the founder of Chaos Theory) This story is taken from a lecture by Steven Strogatz, Phd., Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University.

The point is, everything you do matters: every sign you carry; every postcard, email, or letter you send; and every phone call you make. It may be your call that tips a politician into a more progressive way of thinking. We don’t know which “little” thing is going to make the difference, but we do know that the wind is blowing in a new direction.

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