Earth: Respect

This is an open letter to all writers, scholars, reporters, and policy-makers. More specifically, we also address this piece, respectfully, to editors from the world’s leading newspapers and news bureaus. The ask we are making is: Please, when you write the name of the planet, use the capital initial E: we live on a planet called Earth. Earth is a proper noun, a place, like New York, Nairobi or Nazca. By contrast, the word earth means soil or dirt.

The two may appear together, in the same report, on sustainable farming practices, for instance, but the distinction is important, and failure to recognize this distinction conveys a cavalier attitude about the facts. It may not be the case that a reporter is actually cavalier about the facts, but the message is sent, implicitly.

Such confounding of meanings affects the way the reader receives the report. For instance: no distinction between…

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