What did Charles Darwin do then, and what would he do now?

This page is written as if I were a young modern day photographer. I've taken the liberty of writing in two different "voices", to make it clear who is "speaking". Enjoy this flight of fancy on my part, but it does have an important message.

The responses labelled "What did Charles Darwin do?" are of course totally imaginary, but I like to think he would have tried to help if he could. 

I feel honoured to have stood in the famous man's footsteps when visiting Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire. What did Charles Darwin do there? He used to observe the wildlife, of course. 

Asking for Help From the Past

what did Charles Darwin doCopyright: icenando

It’s tough being a wildlife photographer? You see, firsthand, how us humans are messing up the planet. It's heartbreaking. So many animals nearly gone forever. Whole habitats just about to fall apart.

There was this guy named Charles Darwin, right? You might've heard of him. He was just a regular fellow, but he changed the world as we know it. Like, seriously. What he did, the things he discovered, turned everything upside down. Now, we see things differently because of him. It's wild.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? What would Charles Darwin do about all this? If I could, I'd sit him down for a chat. Ask him what he thinks about all this. What he'd do different.

So I figured, why not pen him a pretend letter, you know, have a chat with him even though he's not around anymore. The following is my imaginary conversation with the famous author who wrote "On the Origin of Species".

Dear Mr Darwin (might as well be polite, eh?)

Hope you're doing good. Just wanted to drop you a line from the future. Here, things are pretty rough. We're dealing with some serious stuff, like animals disappearing and the environment taking a big hit.

Let me tell you, as someone who spends their free time photographing wildlife, it's pretty heartbreaking.

I mean, we're talking about animals that might not be around for much longer, all because of stuff we've done. It's a real wake-up call, right?

I've always been a big fan of your game-changing work on evolution. The way you see things, the way you get how it all connects, it's really impressive.

But, I've been thinking... If you were around today, what would you make of what's going on? How would you react?

Guess you’d be bummed out, huh?

All this shortsightedness and plain ignorance, just driving destruction. You get how everything in nature is connected, right? So, losing even one species? That's a big deal. Throws the whole nature balance thing off. You're smart, I bet you get it.

But hey, I also think you'd have some pretty great advice on how to handle this mess, right?

I mean, with your big focus on stuff like adaptation and natural selection, you could really help us think outside the box and fix the damage we've done.

I bet you'd be all about using science and real evidence to protect our environment and bring back those ecosystems, wouldn't you?

You know, back in your day, you got to see the Galapagos Islands change up close and personal. That's pretty cool! And it got you thinking, didn't it?

Well, we've got a big mess on our hands now.

Plants and animals are losing their homes, the weather's all out of whack, and we're losing species faster than you can say "extinction."

So, got any bright ideas on how we can stop this mess and maybe even undo some of the damage?

How about we push for more focus on education and making people aware? Get folks feeling like they have a part in looking after nature for our kids and grandkids.

And let's get scientists, policymakers, and local communities all working together. That way we can all chip in on coming up with ways to live sustainably and keep our planet's variety of life safe. Sound good?

Just wondering... if you were around today, do you think you'd be all in on saving the planet?

You know, like getting loud about conservation and stuff?

Your work on evolution, shows us how everything in nature is connected. Don't you think you'd be using that clout to show how important it is to take care of our world? Maybe even shouting about how we humans are messing things up?

Sorry if I'm coming on too strong, but I'm super keen to hear what you think about these big issues.

Bet you got some smart insights that could really help us get along better with Mother Nature. What do you reckon?



What did Charles Darwin do? (In my imagination)

He replied to me! In slightly stilted language, but I get his gist. Would ya have guessed? From his ship! Charles Darwin's life 

From onboard The Beagle

Dear Carol,

Thank you for your thoughtful and heartfelt letter. It is truly commendable that you are using your skills as a wildlife photographer to shed light on the urgent need for conservation and environmental protection.

I understand your concerns about the way humans have abused the planet and the resulting extinctions and endangerment of species. It is indeed a tragedy that so many creatures have suffered due to our actions.

If I were alive today, I would have definitely taken a more active role in advocating for conservation and environmental protection.

During my time, my primary focus was on understanding the mechanisms of evolution and natural selection.

However, I was also deeply interested in the diversity of species and the intricate web of life. I believed that every organism, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, played a vital role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems.

  • In hindsight, I would have used my influence to promote the importance of preserving ecosystems and the need to address human-induced threats.
  • I would have sought to raise awareness about the irreplaceable value of biodiversity and the consequences of its loss.
  • By emphasizing the interconnectedness of all life forms, I would have highlighted the fact that our own survival as a species is dependent on the health and well-being of the natural world.
  • I would have encouraged scientific research and collaboration to develop sustainable practices that minimize harm to the environment. This could include finding alternative energy sources, reducing pollution, and promoting responsible consumption and production. 
  • I would have used my platform to advocate for policies that prioritize conservation and protect endangered species.

It is important to remember that the responsibility to protect and preserve the planet falls on all of us.

As individuals, we can make a difference by making conscious choices in our daily lives and supporting organizations and initiatives that work towards conservation.

By using your skills as a wildlife photographer, you are already contributing to raising awareness and inspiring others to take action.

I hope my response provides you with some guidance and encouragement.

Your passion and dedication to the natural world are truly inspiring. Together, we can strive towards a more sustainable and harmonious relationship with our planet.

With warm regards,

Charles Darwin

Keeping it going

Why not shoot him a message back, right? If he wrote once, he could do it again, couldn't he? 

Dear Charles,

Hey, thanks for getting back to me. It's pretty cool that you get how important it is to look after our planet and everything living on it. Gives me a real boost, y'know?

Totally with you on this one. Spreading the word about how mega important biodiversity is? That's a big deal.

Only when folks get what losing species means for us — like our own survival — can we expect things to really shift.

Love your focus on keeping ecosystems balanced and the part every creature plays. That's a message that's gotta get out there.

Love how you're thinking about science and teaming up to make things greener. It's all about getting smart and creative, right?

Finding new ways to beat the environmental problems we've got on our hands.

And if we back up plans that are all about saving nature and keeping endangered animals safe, we're making sure the kiddos of the future get to see all the awesome stuff out in the wild.

Wow, your words really knocked me off my feet! It's not every day I get to chat with a science rockstar like you. You've done some seriously cool stuff and taught us so much.

Wildlife photography? That's my jam! I'm all about capturing those magical moments in nature and getting people talking about our planet. My goal? To inspire people to step up, make a change, and really care about the world we live in. Let's make it a better place, right?

Thanks a bunch for your time and smart advice. Really appreciate it, buddy.


What did Charles Darwin do?

He shot back a reply to my letter. Pretty cool, huh? You know, it's kinda cool to get into the thoughts of a fella like Charles Darwin, even if they're just made up. 

From the Galapagos Islands

Dear Carol,

Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your passion for preserving the natural world. I am glad to see that my ideas still resonate with people today and that there are individuals like yourself who are actively working towards a more sustainable future.

I share your sadness and concern for the number of extinctions and endangered creatures that we are witnessing. It pains me to see the impact that human activities have had on the planet, and I can only imagine how much worse it has become since my, Charles Darwin’s time.

If I were to offer any advice on what could have been done differently, it would be to emphasize the long-term consequences of our actions and to encourage a more holistic approach to understanding and valuing nature. While my theory of natural selection highlighted the importance of adaptation and survival, it is equally important to recognize the intricate web of relationships that exist within ecosystems.

I would have advocated for a stronger emphasis on conservation and the protection of habitats, as well as promoting sustainable practices that consider the long-term well-being of the planet.

Education and awareness play a crucial role, as people need to understand the value and interconnectedness of all species, and the impact that their actions can have on the delicate balance of ecosystems.

I am grateful for individuals like you who use their talents and passions to document and raise awareness about the beauty and fragility of the natural world.

By capturing and sharing images of endangered species and their habitats, you are able to inspire others to take action and make a difference.

While I may not have had all the answers during my time, I am heartened to see that there are those who continue to push for change and work towards a more sustainable future.

Together, we can make a difference and ensure that the wonders of nature are preserved for generations to come.

Thank you for your dedication and for reaching out to me. I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

With warm regards,

Charles Darwin

Back to the Future

Hey, what do you think about this? Should I shoot Charlie a quick thank-you note? That would be a good move, right?

Dear Charlie,

Thanks a bunch for your words. Really cool to hear what you think about what's going on with our planet. Got any ideas on how we can look after it better?

We gotta think about what we're doing now and how it'll affect things down the line. This whole nature thing? It's a big, complex web. Everything's connected. We gotta get that. When we do, we can start doing stuff in a more earth-friendly way. Right?

Saving our planet's critters big and small is super important. And how do we do that? By looking after their homes, that's how.

When we take care of places where they live, we're not just saving them. We're also looking after all those cool connections and processes that make life possible. Got it!

But there's more. Getting the word out there and learning all about this stuff? That's key. Why? Because when people know what's going on, they can make smarter choices. They can step up and do their part to protect Mother Nature. So, let's do this, shall we?

You know what, that thing you said about sustainable practices? Couldn't agree more. We gotta stop using nature like an ATM - withdraw, withdraw, withdraw. And start thinking, how're we gonna keep this planet healthy in the long run, right?

Let's think about stuff like farming, energy, handling our waste. If we start doing these things in a more earth-friendly way, we can cut down the harm we do. All for a better, more balanced relationship with good ol' Mother Nature. Sounds like a plan, huh?

Just wanted to say a massive thank you for cheering me on and supporting my crazy passion for wildlife photography.

What's it all about?

Well, I'm out here trying to snap shots of endangered animals and their homes, showing off how incredibly beautiful yet fragile they are. More than that, I'm trying to shout out to the world that we need to step up our game in conservation.

I really, really hope my photos make people stop and go, "Wow, nature is amazing! We gotta do more to keep it safe." Can you imagine if we all did something to protect it? Now, that's the dream.

Just gotta say, Charles Darwin, you're an absolute star!

Your ideas, they've got me thinking, reflecting, and realizing, hey, we gotta look after this big ol' world of ours. For the kiddos, you know? Let's do this, let's make a difference, let's leave a world that's kinder and greener. Together, we've totally got this!

Thanks a ton!


Wrapping It All Up

There it is, a couple of imaginary letters swapped with the big guy, Charlie Darwin. Just a daydream, but who's to say what could happen if we really got the chance to jaw with the big brains of yesterday?

What this made-up chat taught me is that old wisdom can still point us in the right direction today. Darwin's thoughts about how everything in life is connected and how we need to look after our variety of creatures and plants matter now more than ever.

We've got a mountain to climb, but I reckon we've got the strength. We're the ones who threw things out of whack, so it's on us to set them right.

So, let's follow Darwin's example. Let's use what we know about the great outdoors to take care of it. Let's pull together to make a change. For the critters, for the earth, for the kids that'll come after us.

And hey, the next time you're out enjoying nature, take a second to take it all in. Even snap a few pictures if you like. You never know, you might just light a fire under someone to join the good fight for Mother Earth.

Till we meet again,