[PW] Quote: How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when clearly it is Ocean. (Attributed to Arthur C. Clarke by James E. Lovelock, 1979)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Wed Jan 11 06:05:02 PST 2017

Back in 2013 the saying in the subject line was discussed on this
mailing list. The Yale Book of Quotations has a 1990 citation for the
saying. Now I've located a 1979 citation (listed below). But there is
evidence of an earlier version of this notion appearing in 1965. The
unidentified author suggested that the planet should be called "Sea"
instead of 'Earth"

The data for 1965 citation (listed further below) is based on a Google
Books snippet match; hence, it must be verified on paper or with
scans. If you have access to the 1965 volume described below please
contact me off list. Thanks.

Of course, any other interesting evidence about the provenance of the
saying would be welcome.

[ref] 1979, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth by J. E. Lovelock (James
E. Lovelock), Chapter 6: The Sea, Quote Page 84, Oxford University
Press, Oxford, England. (Verified with scans)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
As Arthur C. Clarke has observed: 'How inappropriate to call this
planet Earth, when clearly it is Ocean.' Nearly three-quarters of the
Earth's surface is sea, which is why those magnificent photographs
taken from space show our planet as a sapphire blue globe, flecked
with soft wisps of cloud and capped by brilliant white fields of polar
[End excerpt]

Year: 1965
Title: Scientific Use of Natural Areas: Symposium August 20-27, 1963
Washington, D.C.
Editors: Julia and Henry Field
Publisher Location: Miami, Florida (According to Yale Orbis Catalog)
Quote Page 93
(Metadata and excerpt text from Google Books and catalogs; may be
inaccurate; must be checked with hardcopy)


[Begin excerpt]
We still view the sea as a limitless wilderness, which of course, it
is not. We view the sea apart from the earth. We call this planet
Earth, yet this is the only planet that has a sea. I think we should
have called it "sea", of course, but the naming is already done.
[End excerpt]


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