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By Peter Lloyd
Maybe we'd all have a little more respect
for our planet if it had a nobler name. Something other than Earth anyway
. The word comes from roots that mean "base." Even today, earthy implies low or common. And why not? What's more common than earth?
The idea of ennobling something by giving it a more dignified name is nothing new. There's significant other
, filtration camp
, physically challenged
, water closet
, and friendly fire
. All are attempts to abbreviate, soften, obscure, or alter a word or phrase in order to make it less offensive.
The inventor's job is not complete until their invention is labeled in a way that not only describes what they've devised but also conveys its benefits or touts its usefulness in a succinct and intriguing way. In your patent application, you might have to call your invention something like "Three zone bed cover with an inflatable human form
." But before you go to market, work toward something like Cozy Camper
. And never settle for an acronym like 3ZBC
So why not a prettier name for our planet? After all, earth is just another name for dirt. How would you feel if you were named dirt? I wouldn't name a dog dirt. Do you know anyone or anything named after the Earth? The earthworm. Can't get much lower than that.
All the other planets have beautifully exotic names: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn, Neptune. Maybe Pluto lost its planet status because its name is goofy. Still, it's better than Earth. Why we've given better names to the moons of other planets: Ariel
. Which would you rather call home, Earth or Ganymede
Why not name our plant after our greatest minds: Hypatia
, or Einstein
? How about our great matriarchal gods: Theia
, or Athena
? Or my nomination, Ella
, for the most beautiful human voice our planet has ever produced.
No wonder we treat the environment so bad. We put more thought into naming personal hygiene products. Let's face it, we call this world Earth because we've always called it Earth. And as long as we do, we'll most likely continue to treat it like dirt.
Peter Lloyd is co-creator with Stephen Grossman of Animal Crackers, the breakthrough problem-solving tool designed to crack your toughest problems.