[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 25 18:21:22 PST 2017

The Quote Investigator website now has an entry about the quotation in
the subject line. Thanks to several helpful W0mbats.

Planet “Earth”: We Should Have Called It “Sea”

[Begin acknowledgement]
Great thanks to Mike Davis whose inquiry led QI to formulate this
question and perform this exploration. Many thanks to the discussants
who made useful comments and uncovered valuable citations: Mark
Nicholes, Suzanne Watkins, and Claire. Special thanks to Thomas Fuller
for accessing the 1963 citation. Also, thanks to Fred Shapiro for the
pertinent entry in “The Yale Book of Quotations”.
[Begin acknowledgement]

Feedback welcome

On Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 9:05 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> ice.
> [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)
> https://books.google.com/books?id=XURDAAAAIAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=%22only+planet%22
> [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]
> Garson

More information about the Project-Wombat-Open mailing list