World Meteorological Day

World Meteorological Day takes place annually on 23rd March and is organised by The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) an intergovernmental organization with a membership of 191 Member States and Territories which was established in 1950. TheWMO is the specialised agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a member of the United Nations Development Group. It is the UN system’s authoritative voice on the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources. WMO has a membership of 191 member states and territories (since 4 December 2009). The Convention of the World Meteorological Organization was signed 11 October 1947 and established in 1950. WMO became the specialized agency of the United Nations in 1951 for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.

As weather, climate and the water cycle know no national boundaries, international cooperation at a global scale is essential for the development of meteorology and operational hydrology as well as to reap the benefits from their application. WMO provides the framework for such international cooperation.Since its establishment, WMO has played a unique and powerful role in contributing to the safety and welfare of humanity. Under WMO leadership and within the framework of WMO programs, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services contribute substantially to the protection of life and property against natural disasters, to safeguarding the environment and to enhancing the economic and social well-being of all sectors of society in areas such as food security, water resources and transport.

The WMO and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is also directly responsible for the creation of the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). The IPCC has received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” The WMO also promote cooperation in the establishment of networks for making meteorological, climatological, hydrological and geophysical observations, as well as the exchange, processing and standardization of related data, and assists technology transfer, training and research. It also fosters collaboration between the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of its Members and furthers the application of meteorology to public weather services, agriculture, aviation, shipping, the environment, water issues and the mitigation of the impacts of natural disasters.

WMO also facilitates the free and unrestricted exchange of data and information, products and services in real- or near-real time on matters relating to safety and security of society, economic welfare and the protection of the environment. It contributes to policy formulation in these areas at national and international levels. In the specific case of weather-, climate and water-related hazards, which account for nearly 90% of all natural disasters, WMO’s programs provide vital information for the advance warnings that save lives and reduce damage to property and the environment. WMO also contributes to reducing the impacts of human-induced disasters, such as those associated with chemical and nuclear accidents, forest fire and volcanic ash. Studies have shown that, apart from the incalculable benefit to human well-being, every dollar invested in meteorological and hydrological services produces an economic return many times greater, often ten times or more.

The WMO play a leading role in international efforts to monitor and protect the environment through its programs. In collaboration with other UN agencies and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, WMO supports the implementation of a number of environmental conventions and is instrumental in providing advice and assessments to governments on related matters. These activities contribute towards ensuring the sustainable development and well-being of nations. They also published the International Cloud Atlas, which has been the international standard cloud atlas since 1896.

World Water Day

World Water Day takes place annually on 22 March. The aim of World Water Day is to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues, tell others about these issues and take action to make a difference, particularly in developing countries. One such issue is the global water crisis which includes challenges such as water scarcity, water pollution, inadequate water supply and the lack of sanitation for billions of people in developing countries. The day brings to light the inequality of access to WASH services and the need to assure the human right to water and sanitation.

United Nations Water coordinates plans and programmes for the day in consultation with UN member organisations who share interest in that year’s theme. For example, in 2016 when the theme was “Water and Jobs,” UN-Water collaborated with the International Labour Organization. Organizations active in the WASH sector, including non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF and WaterAid, use the day to raise public awareness, inspire action and get media attention for water issues. Activities have included the production and dissemination of publications or films, and the organization of round tables, seminars, expositions and other events. End Water Poverty, a global civil society coalition with 250 partner organizations worldwide, also coordinates a calendar of global events to commemorate World Water Day, on the 22nd and during the whole of March.

World Water Day has seen an increase in the quantity and quality of education initiatives within schools and universities, to raise awareness of the importance of conserving and managing water resources. Michigan State University held a contest for “best World Water Day poster” in 2017. Primary school children in the Phillipines participated in a “My School Toilet” contest in 2010. In addition to school-based educational events, a variety of public events, such as seminars, rallies and parades are held to bring people together for World Water Day. These include educational displays on water-saving devices such as greywater reuse systems or dry toilets, as well as information about the lack of access to drinking water and water for agriculture in developing countries. It was first formally proposed at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations (UN) designated 22 March as International World Water Day in 1992 at the same conference and In 1993, the first World Water Day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly and each year since then has focused on a different issue.

Past Annual themes have included Why Waste Water? This concerns the reduction and reuse of wastewater, which is a valuable resource to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Number 6 to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and also to increase the recycling and safe reuse of water across the globe. After appropriate treatment, wastewater can be used for a variety of purposes. Industry, for example, can reuse water for cooling manufacturing equipment and agriculture can reuse water for irrigation.

In 2016 the theme was Better Water, Better Jobs. This highlighted the correlation between water and job creation, both directly and indirectly by water sources around the globe. If water scarcity becomes a reality, industries heavily dependent on water like textiles and agriculture are at risk of increased costs, which threatens salaries and jobs. Increased costs may then be passed on to consumers. It also illustrated how an abundance of quality water can change people’s jobs and lives for the better and stressed the importance of working to improve water quality and availability and how Water shortages and lack of access can limit economic growth. In 2015 the theme was Water and Sustainable Development. This consolidated and built upon the previous World Water Days to highlight water’s role in the sustainable development agenda. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were to have been achieved by 2015. With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), world Water Day gave specific emphasis to SDG 6, which calls for water and sanitation for all. In 2014 the theme was Water and Energy. This emphasized the interdependence of water and energy. Generating and transmitting energy requires the use of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources , with 8% of the energy generated globally is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.

In 2014, the UN, addressed issues affecting those who live in urban slums and impoverished rural areas, who must find ways to survive without access to safe drinking water, safe sanitation, sufficient food and without energy services. The UN helped Develop policies and frameworks that would bridge ministries and sectors, to ensure energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy. journalists from eleven countries in Asia also met in Tokyo to discuss the importance of water And also discussed privatisation of services, integration between water and energy and modernisation of water services. The year 2013: was International Year of Water Cooperation and in 2012 the theme was Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry. the International Committe of the Red Cross (ICRC) called attention to the water-related challenges faced by civilians caught up in fighting and intense civil unrest. In 2011 the theme was Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge. This encouraged governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management.

In 2010 the theme was Clean Water for a Healthy World. This showed the importance of water management. In 2009 the theme was Trans Waters. This placed Special focus on trans-boundary waters. In 2008 the theme was Sanitation. 2008 was also the International Year of Sanitation. In 2007 the theme was Coping With Water Scarcity. This Highlighted water scarcity worldwide and the need for increased integration and cooperation to ensure sustainable, efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources, both at international and local levels.In 2006 the theme was Water and Culture. The theme drew the attention to the fact that there are as many ways of viewing, using, and celebrating water as there are cultural traditions across the world.

International Day of Forests

International Day of Forests, observed for the first time on March 21, 2013, was established by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012. to be held each year on the 21st day of March. International Day of Forests is intended to be one of the world’s leading global platforms for people with an interest in forests and climate change to share their views, educate the public concerning the importance of forests and work together to ensure forests are suitably incorporated into any future climate change mitigation and adaption strategies.

Each year more than 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests are lost, an area roughly the size of England.As go the forests, so go the plant and animal species that they embrace – 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity. Most importantly, forests play a critical role in climate change including global warming: deforestation results in 12-18 percent of the world’s carbon emissions – almost equal to all the CO2 from the global transport sector. equally crucial, healthy forests are one of the world’s primary ‘carbon sinks.Today, forests cover more than 30% of the world’s land and contain more than 60,000 tree species, many as of yet unidentified.forests provide food, fiber, water and medicines for approximately 1.6 billion of the world’s poorest people, including indigenous peoples with unique cultures.

Prior to the launching of International Day of Forests in 2012 were two closely related international commemorations: World Forestry Day (established in 1971 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization), and Forest Day (convened by the Center for International Forestry Research from 2007-2012). World Forestry Day was established In November 1971, after the “States members” at the 16th session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization, voted to establish “World Forestry Day” on March 21 of each year. Forest Day was established by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who convened a series of six Forest Days, in conjunction with annual meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties. CIFOR organized these events on behalf of and in close cooperation with other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

The immediate impetus for these events was a casual conversation in Oxford, England, in February 2007, between two scientists who felt the world was underestimating the importance of forests in mitigating carbon emissions and saw a glaring need for the latest forestry research and thinking to inform global policy makers and UNFCCC negotiators. They did not foresee that the conference would become one of the most influential global events on forests and climate change today.

World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife day takes place annually on 3 March. The purpose of World Wildlife day is to educate people and raise awareness of the intrinsic value, importance and contributionof the world’s wild fauna and flora, towards ecological, health, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational, aesthetics and human well being

World Wildlife Day was first mooted On 20 December 2013, when, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March, World Wildlife Day To mark the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. In its resolution, the General Assembly reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions, including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, (CITES) also known as the Washington Convention) is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. It was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The convention was opened for signature in 1973 and CITES entered into force on 1 July 1975. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants. In order to ensure that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was not violated, the Secretariat of GATT was consulted during the drafting process. As of 2015, Secretary-General of the CITES Secretariat is John E. Scanlon.

The General Assembly took note of the outcome of the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, held in Bangkok from 3 to 14 March 2013, in particular Resolution Conf. 16.1 designating 3 March as World Wildlife Day, in order to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora, and recognized the important role of CITES in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the survival of species. The General Assembly requested the CITES Secretariat, in collaboration with relevant organizations of the United Nations system, to facilitate the implementation of World Wildlife Day. Previous Themes for World Wildlife Day have included “Big cats – predators under threat”, “Listen to the young voices”, “The future of wildlife”, “The future of elephants”and “dealing with wildlife crime”.

International Polar Bear Day

International Polar Bear Day is an annual event celebrated every February 27 by Polar Bears International. One of the aims of International Polar Bear Day is to raise awareness about the conservation status of the polar bear and raise awareness about the impact of global warming and reduced sea ice on polar bear populations.

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is a large bear, approximately the same size as the omnivorous Kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) A boar (adult male) weighs around 350–700 kg (772–1,543 lb), while a sow (adult female) is about half that size. Although it is the sister species of the brown bear, it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice and open water, and for hunting seals, which make up most of its diet. Although most polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their time on the sea ice. Their scientific name means “maritime bear” and derives from this fact. Polar bears hunt their preferred food of seals from the edge of sea ice, often living off fat reserves when no sea ice is present. Because of their dependence on the sea ice, polar bears are classified as marine mammals.

Climate change has effected the Polar bear greatly with a rise in temperature melting the ice on which the Polar Bear depends for hunting. Consequently this has resulted in habitat loss and the polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with at least three of the nineteen polar bear subpopulations currently in decline. However, at least two of the nineteen subpopulations are currently increasing, while another six are considered stable. For decades, large-scale hunting raised international concern for the future of the species, but populations rebounded after controls and quotas began to take effect. For thousands of years, the polar bear has been a key figure in the material, spiritual, and cultural life of circumpolar peoples, and polar bears remain important in their cultures. Historically, the polar bear has also been known as the white bear.

Another aim of International Polar Bear day is to encourage people to find ways to reduce their carbon output, such as by turning down their thermostat or driving less. The day has also been used to encourage the installation of energy efficient insulation in houses. Many zoos also use the day to educate about polar bear conservation and to encourage visitation to polar bear exhibits. It has also had some political impact. Jack Shapiro, the deputy climate campaign manager under American president Barack Obama, used the day to argue for the need for Congressional action on the issue of climate change. The University of Saskatchewan announced in 2014 that it would be turning its thermostats up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees Celsius in the winter to honor International Polar Bear Day. The decision is expected to reduce the university’s carbon emissions by two-thousand tons and save the university over two-hundred thousand dollars per year.

World Whale Day

World Whale Day Takes place annually on 20 February. The purpose of World Whale Day is to inform the public concerning these aquatic mammals and to highlight conservation efforts which are taking place to protect these endangered animals.

Whales are a widely distributed and diverse group of fully aquatic placental marine mammals. They are an informal grouping within the infraorder Cetacea, usually excluding dolphins and porpoises. Whales, dolphins and porpoises belong to the order Cetartiodactyla with even-toed ungulates and their closest living relatives are the hippopotamuses, having diverged about 40 million years ago. The two parvorders of whales, baleen whales (Mysticeti) and toothed whales (Odontoceti), are thought to have split apart around 34 million years ago. The whales comprise eight extant families: Balaenopteridae (the rorquals), Balaenidae (right whales), Cetotheriidae (the pygmy right whale), Eschrichtiidae (the grey whale), Monodontidae (belugas and narwhals), Physeteridae (the sperm whale), Kogiidae (the dwarf and pygmy sperm whale), and Ziphiidae (the beaked whales).

Whales are creatures of the open ocean; they feed, mate, give birth, suckle and raise their young at sea. So extreme is their adaptation to life underwater that they are unable to survive on land. Whales range in size from the 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) and 135 kilograms (298 lb) dwarf sperm whale to the 29.9 metres (98 ft) and 190 metric tons (210 short tons) blue whale, which is the largest creature that has ever lived. The sperm whale is the largest toothed predator on earth. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism, in that the females are larger than males. Baleen whales have no teeth; instead they have plates of baleen, a fringe-like structure used to expel water while retaining the krill and plankton which they feed on. They use their throat pleats to expand the mouth to take in huge gulps of water. Balaenids have heads that can make up 40% of their body mass to take in water. Toothed whales, on the other hand, have conical teeth adapted to catching fish or squid. Baleen whales have a well developed sense of “smell”, whereas toothed whales have well-developed hearing − their hearing, that is adapted for both air and water, is so well developed that some can survive even if they are blind. Some species, such as sperm whales, are well adapted for diving to great depths to catch squid and other favoured prey.

Whales have evolved from land-living mammals. As such whales must breathe air regularly, although they can remain submerged under water for long periods of time. Some species such as the sperm whale are able to stay submerged for as much as 90 minutes. They have blowholes (modified nostrils) located on top of their heads, through which air is taken in and expelled. They are warm-blooded, and have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin. With streamlined fusiform bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers, whales can travel at up to 20 knots, though they are not as flexible or agile as seals. Whales produce a great variety of vocalizations, notably the extended songs of the humpback whale. Although whales are widespread, most species prefer the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and migrate to the equator to give birth. Species such as humpbacks and blue whales are capable of travelling thousands of miles without feeding. Males typically mate with multiple females every year, but females only mate every two to three years. Calves are typically born in the spring and summer months and females bear all the responsibility for raising them. Mothers of some species fast and nurse their young for one to two years.

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Whales were once relentlessly hunted for their products, however they are now protected by international law. The North Atlantic right whales nearly became extinct in the twentieth century, with a population low of 450, and the North Pacific grey whale population is ranked Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Besides whaling, they also face threats from bycatch and marine pollution. The meat, blubber and baleen of whales have traditionally been used by indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Whales have been depicted in various cultures worldwide, notably by the Inuit and the coastal peoples of Vietnam and Ghana, who sometimes hold whale funerals. Whales occasionally feature in literature and film, as in the great white whale of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Small whales, such as belugas, are sometimes kept in captivity and trained to perform tricks, but breeding success has been poor and the animals often die within a few months of capture. Whale watching has become a form of tourism around the world.

More events happening on 20 February

Clean Out Your Bookcase Day
Love Your Pet Day
National Cherry Pie Day
National Hoodie Hoo Day
World Day for Social Justice

Charles Darwin FRS

English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, FRS was born in The Mount, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England on 12 February 1809. He was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin on his father’s side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother’s side. As an eight-year-old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting. From September 1818 he joined his older brother Erasmus at the Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder. Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before going to the University of Edinburgh Medical School with his brother Erasmus in October 1825. In Darwin’s second year he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural history group whose debates strayed into radical materialism. He assisted Robert Edmond Grant’s investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of marine invertebrates in the Firth of Forth, and on 27 March 1827 presented at the Plinian his own discovery that black spores found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech.

He learned classification of plants, and assisted with work on the collections of the University Museum. Charles then went to to Christ’s College, Cambridge, for a Bachelor of Arts degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican parson. His cousin William Darwin Fox introduced him to beetle collecting and He became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow and met other leading naturalist. Darwin Stayed at Cambridge until June. He studied Paley’s Natural Theology, which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature. He read John Herschel’s new book, which described the highest aim of natural philosophy and Alexander von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative of scientific travels. Inspired with “a burning zeal” to contribute, Darwin planned to visit Tenerife with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the tropics. In preparation, he joined Adam Sedgwick’s geology course, then travelled with him, in order to map strata in Wales.

After a week with student friends at Barmouth, Darwin returned home on 29 August he learnt that Henslow had recommended him as suitable gentleman naturalist for a self-funded supernumerary place on HMS Beagle with captain Robert FitzRoy to chart the coastline of South America. The voyage began on 27 December 1831; it lasted almost five years. Darwin spent most of that time on land investigating geology and making natural history collections, while the Beagle surveyed and charted coasts. He kept careful notes of his observations and theoretical speculations, and at intervals during the voyage his specimens were sent to Cambridge together with letters including a copy of his journal for his family. He had some expertise in geology, beetle collecting and dissecting marine invertebrates.On their first stop ashore at St. Jago, Darwin found that a white band high in the volcanic rock cliffs included seashells. Fitzroy gave him a volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology which set out uniformitarian concepts of land slowly rising or falling over immense periods, and Darwin saw things Lyell’s way, theorising and thinking of writing a book on geology. In Brazil Darwin was delighted by the tropical forest, but detested the sight of slavery. At Punta Alta in Patagonia he made a major find of fossil bones of huge extinct mammals in cliffs beside modern seashells, indicating recent extinction with no signs of change in climate or catastrophe.

He identified the little known Megatherium by a tooth and its association with bony armour which resembled a giant armadillo. The finds brought great interest when they reached England. On rides into the interior to explore geology and collect more fossils he gained social, political and anthropological insights into both native and colonial people at a time of revolution, and learnt that two types of rhea had separate but overlapping territories. Further south he saw stepped plains of shingle and seashells as raised beaches showing a series of elevations. He read Lyell’s second volume but his discoveries and theories challenged Lyell’s ideas of smooth continuity and of extinction of species. Darwin also experienced an earthquake in Chile and saw signs that the land had just been raised, including mussel-beds stranded above high tide. High in the Andes he saw seashells, and several fossil trees that had grown on a sand beach. He theorised that as the land rose, oceanic islands sank, and coral reefs round them grew to form atolls. On the geologically new Galápagos Islands Darwin looked for evidence attaching wildlife to an older “centre of creation”, and found mockingbirds allied to those in Chile but differing from island to island. He heard that slight variations in the shape of tortoise shells showed which island they came from. The Beagle investigated how the atolls of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands had formed, and the survey supported Darwin’s theories.

When the Beagle reached Falmouth, Cornwall, on 2 October 1836, Darwin was already a celebrity in scientific circles in December 1835 after selected naturalists had been given a pamphlet of his geological letters. hurried to Cambridge to see Henslow, who advised on finding naturalists available to catalogue the collections and agreed to take on the botanical specimens. Darwin’s father organised investments, enabling his son to be a self-funded gentleman scientist, and an excited Darwin went round the London institutions being fêted and seeking Zoologists and otherexperts to describe the huge collections.Darwin was introduced to the anatomist Richard Owen, who had the facilities of the Royal College of Surgeons to work on the fossil bones collected by Darwin. Owen’s surprising results included other gigantic extinct ground sloths as well as the Megatherium, a near complete skeleton of the unknown Scelidotherium and a hippopotamus-sized rodent-like skull named Toxodon resembling a giant capybara. The armour fragments were actually from Glyptodon, a huge armadillo-like creature. Darwin realised that these extinct creatures were related to living species in South America.Darwin wrote his first paper, showing that the South American landmass was slowly rising, and read it to the Geological Society of London and presented his mammal and bird specimens to the Zoological Society. The ornithologist John Gould soon announced that the Galapagos birds that Darwin had thought a mixture of blackbirds, “gros-beaks” and finches, were, in fact, twelve separate species of finches.Darwin was also elected to the Council of the Geological Society

Darwin then moved to London and joined Lyell’s social circle of scientists and experts such as Charles Babbage and writer Harriet Martineau who promoted Malthusianism underlying the controversial Whig Poor Law reforms to stop welfare from causing overpopulation and more poverty. Transmutation was anathema to Anglicans defending social order,but reputable scientists openly discussed the subject and there was wide interest in John Herschel’s letter praising Lyell’s approach as a way to find a natural cause of the origin of new species. Darwin learnt that the Galápagos mockingbirds from different islands were separate species, not just varieties, and what Darwin had thought was a “wren” was also in the finch group. The two rheas were also distinct species. Darwin then started writing about Transmutation of Species, and speculated about the possibility that “one species does change into another” to explain the geographical distribution of living species such as the rheas, and extinct ones such as the strange Macrauchenia which resembled a giant guanaco.

Darwin Speculated about lifespan, reproduction, variations in offspring to alter and adapt to different environments using the Galápagos tortoises, mockingbirds and rheas as examples postulating a single evolutionary tree containing common ancestors. While developing this intensive study of transmutation, Darwin became mired in more work. Still rewriting his Journal, he took on editing and publishing the expert reports on his collections, and with Henslow’s help obtained a Treasury grant of £1,000 to sponsor this multi-volume Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, he also planned books on geology.Sadly all this work took it’s toll on Darwin’s health so he took a break in the countryside in Staffordshire where he met his future wife Emma Wedgewood and also formed a new & important theory” regarding the earthworms role in soil formation which Darwin presented at the Geological Society and Darwin became Secretary of the Geological Society. Despite the grind of writing and editing the Beagle reports, Darwin made remarkable progress on transmutation.

Darwin’s health deteriorated and For the rest of his life, he was repeatedly incapacitated with episodes of stomach pains, vomiting, severe boils, palpitations, trembling and other symptoms, particularly during times of stress. During another break he went “geologising” in Scotland. He visited Glen Roy in glorious weather to see the parallel “roads” cut into the hillsides at three heights. After recuperating he returned to Shrewsbury and Continuing his research in London, Darwin’s wide reading now included the sixth edition of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population, and asserted that human “population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio”, a geometric progression so that population soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe & compare this to de Candolle’s “warring of the species” of plants and the struggle for existence among wildlife, explaining how numbers of a species kept roughly stable. favourable variations would make organisms better at surviving and passing the variations on to their offspring, & favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would result in the formation of new species.

Darwin saw a similarity between farmers picking the best stock in selective breeding, and a Malthusian Nature so that “every part of newly acquired structure is fully practical and perfected”. He later called his theory natural selection. On 29 January Darwin and Emma Wedgwood were married at Maer in Shropshire.Darwin’s book The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs on his theory of atoll formation was also published in May 1842 and he then wrote his first draft of his theory of natural selection. Darwin completed his third geological book in 1846. He now renewed a fascination and expertise in marine invertebrates, dating back to his student days classifying the barnacles he had collected on the voyage, enjoying observing beautiful structures and thinking about comparisons with allied structures.

In an attempt to improve his chronic ill health, Darwin visited Malvern spa and benefited from hydrotherapy. After eight years of work on barnacles (Cirripedia), Darwin’s theory helped him to find “homologies” showing that slightly changed body parts served different functions to meet new conditions This earned him the Royal Society’s Royal Medal, and it made his reputation as a biologist & realised that divergence in the character of descendants could be explained by them becoming adapted to diversified places in the economy of nature.By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travelacross seawater to spread species across oceans.By the start of 1856, Darwin was investigating whether eggs and seeds could survive travel across seawater to spread species across oceans. Darwin began work on a “big book on species” entitled Natural Selection and also presented a thesis On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection to the Linnean Society. At first There was little immediate attention to this announcement of the theory & Despite suffering from ill health he was getting constant encouragement from his scientific friends.

 

Upon it’s publication On the Origin of Species proved unexpectedly popular, In the book, Darwin set out “one long argument” of detailed observations, inferences and consideration of anticipated objections, and states that many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive so there is a recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it changes in any manner helpful to itself, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form. He put a strong case for common descent, but avoided the then controversial term “evolution”, The book aroused international interest, although there was less controversy than had greeted the popular Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation,The Church of England’s response was mixed. Darwin’s old Cambridge tutors Sedgwick and Henslow dismissed the ideas, but liberal clergymen interpreted natural selection as an instrument of God’s design.

Though Darwin’s illness kept him away from the public debates, he eagerly scrutinised the scientific response, commenting on press cuttings, reviews, articles, satires and caricatures, and corresponded on it with colleagues worldwide. Darwin had only said “Light will be thrown on the origin of man”. Despite repeated bouts of illness during the last years of his life, Darwin’s work continued. Having published On the Origin of Species as an abstract of his theory, he pressed on with experiments, research, and writing of his “big book”. He covered human descent from earlier animals including evolution of society and of mental abilities, as well as explaining decorative beauty in wildlife and diversifying into innovative plant studies.Enquiries about insect pollination led in 1861 to novel studies of wild orchids, showing adaptation of their flowers to attract specific moths to each species and ensure cross fertilisation.

In 1862 Fertilisation of Orchids gave his first detailed demonstration of the power of natural selection to explain complex ecological relationships, making testable predictions. As his health declined, he lay on his sickbed in a room filled with inventive experiments to trace the movements of climbing plants. In 1882 he was diagnosed with what was called “angina pectoris” which then meant coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart. At the time of his death, the physicians diagnosed anginal attacks”, and “heart-failure”. He died at Down House on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma “I am not the least afraid of death – Remember what a good wife you have been to me – Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me”, then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis “It’s almost worth while to be sick to be nursed by you”.

He was buried at Westminster Abbey close to John Herschel and Sir Isaac Newton, at the request of His colleagues, and after public and parliamentary petitioning, by William Spottiswoode (President of the Royal Society) .Darwin had convinced most scientists that evolution as descent with modification was correct, and he was regarded as a great scientist who had revolutionised ideas. Though few agreed with his views on “natural selection” he was honoured in June 1909 by more than 400 officials and scientists from across the world who met in Cambridge to commemorate his centenary and the fiftieth anniversary of On the Origin of Species. During this period, which has been called “the eclipse of Darwinism”, scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which proved untenable. The development of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, suggested natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution.