A Flap of a Butterfly’s Wing Can Trigger a Hurricane
Jodie Chen, Division 2, 8th grade

Edward Lorenz, a famous mathematician, once suggested that a flap of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately trigger a hurricane. His theory known as the butterfly effect, reveals to us that small imperceptible changes in initial conditions can lead to drastic changes in an aftermath. For many people, this theory is a logical way of saying to expect the unexpected. It is impossible to foresee the future, no matter how advance technology is. We are competent enough to anticipate and control traditional science phenomena like chemical reactions, electricity, and gravity. But we are simply not capable of predicting or manipulating the simple dimensions of the universe like turbulence, weather, or earthquakes. We, as an individual, are only a miniscule part to the greater whole of the universe. Living by this theory serves as an precaution for us to avoid actions that may end up to be a truly detrimental cause to our inner self and thus the universe, as we can never forecast the future. Although changing the course of adverse actions may be difficult, it can be inhibited.

One such action we should take to our hands is preserving endangered species. For many years, animal species have faded in and out of the background at different points in time since life began on Earth. They are already unable to maintain their presence in the world due to environmental factors and natural disasters, and now we exacerbate this even more by inflicting pollution, commercial overexploitation, poaching, and habitat destruction onto them. Species have been disappearing at faster rates ever since these attributes concurred with one another. In a flap of a butterfly’s wing, they are lost to these human factors. For some people, they do not think twice on saving endangered species. But others ask themselves, “What do we gain from protecting endangered species? Is it really worth the trouble to spend excessive time and effort on them?” I once asked this question to myself because looking at it in one perspective led me to think that preserving endangered species will merely benefit animals at the top of the food chain. So why the constant strenuous struggle to save the endangered?

I found my answer to this question two years back when I participated in restoring the environment of a local park for a school project. Under the agonizing heat, I removed invasive plants for two hours straight, never wondering about its effect on the environment. Unfortunately, volunteering for this program was not the only thing I had to do for my school project. I had to also present to my class on how removing invasive species affect the environment. At that point, I knew that I had stumbled upon a difficult task. After much careful thought though, I realized that the answer had been right in my face all along.

It really is just a question of balance. In nature, everything corresponds with one another. We depend on plants, the very entity that furnishes us with oxygen and food, just like how animals rely on each other for survival. Unfortunately, we do not commonly apprehend this and thus repercussions involved in a disappearance of a single population fail to concern most of us. Imagine one day all the trees, shrubs, and other plant life that dominate the earth suddenly disappear due to a single human’s impulsive action. Life as we know it will never be the same again. Soon, herbivores will have to relent to the lack of food sources including us, humans. Shortly after, predators of all sizes will be deprived of the prey they need to survive. Thus, imbalance, caused by the remodeling of nature by humans, ensues. Because every life form plays a specific role in the food chain, the balance of nature will be deeply affected. Just like the butterfly effect, a single fault in the pyramid of life may completely alter the balance of nature. That is why all species including humans are essential in maintaining the frangible stability of nature, even if their role is not visible to the naked eye.

Removing invasive species is one way to ensure the equilibrium of nature and its inhabitants. Invasive species are plant or animal species that are not native to a specific location and cause economic harm and even harm to human health. Perhaps the most harm it causes is the ubiquitous loss of habitat. Some invasive species dominate so much of a certain location that its native inhabitants lose their habitats and resources for survival, rendering them endangered. Removing invasive species can compensate for the insecurity of nature’s balance and restore the environment of endangered species.

My service to the organization that I volunteered for, although arduous, proved to be not of waste. Through this experience, I learned to dedicate myself to my community and the whole society in helping restore the balance of nature. And I continue volunteering for that same organization to this day, occasionally planting trees or removing invasive plants to ensure a place for endangered species. I now strive to erase the mistakes mankind have commited that have defaced the food chain. If one human’s impulsive action brings down the pyramid of life, I will work together with my team to reconstruct it again. Just like what Lorenz stated, a butterfly’s flap of a wing can ultimately trigger a hurricane, a single human’s impulsive action may also prove to be fatal to the pyramid of life and may demolish the endangered and thus, nature’s balance. But even though it takes twice the effort to compensate for a mistake as an individual, if everyone works together to restore the environment, we will be already one step closer to saving endangered species.
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