I relish thoughts from the Resurgence team and have been a subscriber in the past many times. I wanted to point something out to you. This ‘thing’ has been gnawing at me for a few decades, and I’ve brought it up with a lot of writers and other activists. It’s the language around how we refer to our planet.

I’ve done a little research, too. It turns out that the International Space Agency agrees that the name of the planet of which we are all a part is ‘Earth’. That is, no ‘the’ and capital ‘E’. Just like our names of the other planets. I have also done research to show how it came to be that so many people still refer to Earth as ‘the Earth’ or even ‘the earth’, since the names of the planet around the world are (usually) an outgrowth of how we referred to the ground, before people came to know that we are and have been scurrying around and within what we would come to know is a planet, too. So, in English, erde (soil/the ground) became earth became Earth. But here’s the thing. I have also come to observe how critically important it is (and can be) that we write and speak our planet’s name as ‘Earth’. And I think the easiest way to see it is to try it. My own experience, as I consciously trained myself to drop the ‘the’ in speaking its name, was that my conceptualisation of the planet instantly shifted to be that of a living being, rather than a dead rock. Just as with ‘Angie’ or ‘Tim’, we very rarely refer to an individual with an article (‘the Angie’ or ‘the Tim’). I’ve been doing this for a couple of decades now and have realised that there’s truly no grammatical situation where we need the ‘the’ in front of ‘Earth’. And absolutely no reason to have it there (but lots of reasons not to). To truly honour James Lovelock’s observations and vision, the only way to refer to the planet as a living being, especially when we’re writing about Earth as a living being — is ‘Earth’. Using ‘Earth’ automatically confers ‘personhood’ (without having to go to court). Spreading ‘Earth’ as a meme will, I believe, go a long way towards shifting our collective mindset, to more readily embrace our planet as a living being and, hopefully, the understanding that we must abide by Earth’s limits.

Tim Keating
(via email)


I think there is a really important debate to be had about the UK’s energy future and I wonder if Resurgence could facilitate it. It would be between the CEOs of Ecotricity (Dale Vince) and Octopus Energy (Greg Jackson), both of whom are genuinely committed to a green energy future. The debate would centre on whether the UK opts for gas made from grass (Ecotricity’s option – projected cost £30 billion) or replacing gas boilers with heat pumps (Octopus’s preferred option – projected cost £300 billion). I feel an exchange between the two CEOs could be really interesting (avoiding ‘point scoring’, sound bites, etc.).

Bill Van Marle
(via email)


I look forward to receiving my copy of Resurgence & Ecologist, but I am finding it more and more difficult to be positive about the state of the environment. At our Friends of the Earth meeting two weeks ago, I made the point that the after-effects of COP26 have been just so much ‘blah blah blah’, as Greta Thunberg put it, especially since we do not have a functioning government at the moment. We really need a government of national unity, as we had from the beginning of the second world war. The only thing that will make a difference is for ALL the local protest groups to join together, demonstrate together, act together, as working in our own small corners and sending out ripples is no longer enough. I have heard others saying the same thing, so maybe people out there are going to get things moving.

Margaret Forbes
Blanefield, Scotland