As I declined the plastic bag to take my purchase in at Duane Read last night I explained to the girl behind the checkout, “A small step to help save the world.” She didn't understand me. Of course, it could have been the accent or it could be too late in her shift. But I also realized as I finished speaking that I had used the wrong word at the end of my sentence.

When it comes to environmental issues, the word we use for the place we live isn't ‘world'. Instead we often use ‘planet'. We talk to each other about ‘Saving the planet.' Sometimes we see this ‘planet' written (rather than said) as ‘Earth' or ‘planet Earth'.

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