A Butterfly Flapped Its Wings

In South America, a butterfly flapped its wings. The butterfly, whom we’ll call Chester, threatened to disturb another nearby butterfly, whom we’ll call Elaine, with his frantic flapping. That was Chester’s intent as he craved Elaine’s attention. And when Elaine is disturbed, she flaps her wings like crazy and zips around disturbing hundreds of other butterflies who, in turn, flap theirs.

And if all of these flapping butterflies catch the air current just right, the current accelerates. This breeze becomes wind, and then a more powerful wind which feeds on itself. Now, if this effect only stayed as a local phenomenon in an obscure corner of South America, that would be one thing. But these butterflies live very close to a critically important rainforest.

Furthermore, it’s possible for some twigs from one area to be carried by a powerful wind to another nearby area. And dry twigs are highly combustible. What would a fire in South America’s most important rainforest mean? Let’s follow this.

Normally, the high humidity in a rainforest would prevent a fire. But this rainforest had unusually low humidity that day. A fire would likely start and spread quickly, but due to the humidity in a rainforest (even on a comparatively dry day), the blaze would stop just as quickly.

That would be too late to prevent the smoke. Prevailing winds would carry the smoke over the ocean, change water currents and speed them up slightly. Building up over a distance, the waves could become a powerful current and then ultimately a typhoon.

Some coastal nuclear power plants have sub-standard protection against natural disasters. One or more could rupture and do enormous destruction to ocean wildlife. Without providing any further details, let’s cut to the chase. Earth could become uninhabitable. We’d all be dead.

As implied earlier, Chester had a “thing” for Elaine, but his affections weren’t reciprocated. Still, the two had migrated hundreds of miles together. And Elaine was amused by Chester’s skillful mimicry. As for his part, in Chester’s eyes Elaine was so perfect, he was blind to her substance abuse.

So, Elaine ignored the flapping of Chester’s wings. She’d had too much pollen the day before. She wasn’t going to raise her head or wings for anyone.

Worldwide, nothing much happened that day.