“The flap of one butterfly’s wings in LA can change the weather in New York City.”

You may have heard that saying as an anecdote, but is it true, scientifically? Turns out it is! But sometimes our eyes are not big enough for the perspective we need.

What about that butterfly? We can bat this question back and forth for quite some time without landing on a definitive answer.

On the one hand, most of us would deduce that the Law of Cause and Effect doesn’t stop working at some level depending on the scale of things.

On the other hand, experience tells us that we live in a dynamic system where every change sets something new in motion, no matter how small.

So where does that leave us? It leaves me open to living with some mysteries.

That is until I saw today’s EWC video-share which explains the whole concept. Scientists have discovered something they call The Global Conveyor Belt, and with this insight we can all appreciate the exquisite sensitivity of things after we know more.

Take a look at this interesting piece from a great YouTube channel we found, Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

I’ve always thought of myself as fairly well informed when it comes to “Earth science“, but I was astonished at how little I actually understood after I saw the piece we are sharing with you today! (Thank you Karen K. from St. Paul Minnesota. You too can send us a simple link when you see something everyone should celebrate!)

Can the Global Conveyor Belt affect us personally?

This Global Conveyor Belt concept made me think of the way the Climate Change debate has stressed relationships on a global and personal level. It is an emotionally charged debate for so many simply because it is personal. The way things go will affect the way everything goes for each of us on a personal level.

That said, maybe we have been asking the wrong people? If we can’t all agree to trust scientists, maybe we can trust ourselves and our grandparents!

How are things where you live? Is the weather different now from what you remember when you were a child. What do your grandparents remember experiencing?

Questions like that have always haunted me after a patient and I had a long conversation about the past one day in my office.

Image: Sap buckets hung on trees to collect for making maple syrup

Source: Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

He was a crusty old, no-nonsense Vermonter age 93, and had ancestors who came to live in our part of northern Vermont in the late 1800’s. He had learned to make the highly prized Vermont Maple Syrup in the early part of the 1900’s when the process started by collecting sap, bucket by bucket, from hundreds of trees every day. I asked him how things had changed and I expected him to ramble on about how buckets have been replaced by miles of plastic tubing in the woods.

But that’s not what he found most remarkable. With a certain brand of sadness, he went on to describe the loss of snow in the woods. He said that when he was a kid, the snow was always two to three feet deep in March in our northern tier of Vermont, and that’s why they used the iconic draft horses and sleds to collect the sap.

There was no way to visit that many trees while post-holing with every step and motorized vehicles would have been hopelessly stuck in minutes.

He told me to look at some of the largest, old trees that are tapped nowadays, and then scan up the tree trunk another two or three feet. There, he told me I’ll be able to see the scars of tapping 80 years ago.

How are things where you live?

Image: Old Vermont barn with three feet of snow

Source: Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Is the weather different now from what you remember when you were a child, or what your grandparents remember? Let’s compare notes from actual experience and sort this out.

That day I went home and marched into my woods to check out his thesis with a very old maple tree.  And sure enough, the old tap scars were about head height and the most recent tap was at least three feet lower.

Where has all the snow in Vermont gone?

I suspect we don’t have to rely on “the experts” to tell us that the Global Conveyor Belt has been disturbed.

Let’s compare notes from actual experience and I suspect we could sort this out.

Many people around the globe are beginning to feel the winds of change happening in their very own environments: More tornadoes, more damaging storm surge tides, long periods of drought, later monsoon seasons, warmer winters, colder springs, and so forth. I know the fluctuations are forcing me to think of our planet as a living, breathing organism in a state of flux.

Image: Maple Syrup sap bucket

Source: Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Here’s the bottom line: Maybe we could stop fighting about “global warming” and find a better moniker for our experiences. I think of what I see on the news and the comments from older people and I suspect the term “Global Weirding” (coined by Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute) far better describes our collective experiences in the next few decades.

Maybe our own observations are not just a drop in the bucket when it comes to making a change.

Think back, talk to some elders. Then think about the balance of the Global Conveyor Belt and how we might be creating the butterfly effect without even knowing it!

It’s a pretty remarkable train of thought. Some would say an empowering one! It gives me a great deal of hope that we can influence the future!

Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda

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  1. “The Gulf Stream Explained.” YouTube. Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell, 11 Oct. 2013. Web. 18 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuGrBhK2c7U>.

Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world. Hear her latest conversations with thought leaders on the Conspiracy of Goodness Podcast--new episodes every Wednesday!