People sometimes ask us: "How do you pronounce your company’s name? Is there a story behind it?"

Admittedly, even the person writing this post wasn’t certain when he applied to work here; he found a video to hear one of the founders say it before interviewing with her. So to make things easy, we’ve put together this quick FAQ to resolve this and a few other mysteries.

First things first:

Q: What’s the best way to pronounce

A: We’ve heard some creative interpretations over the years, but the answer is pretty simple: "Terra," like the Earth where we all live—terra firma—and then "dot do," as in "ready to do something about climate change."

Q: Wait, what are some other guesses you’ve heard?

A: Oh jeez. Well, doesn’t rhyme with “bravado,” for instance. In short, no version of “dot do” rhymes with “not so.”

Q: Is the “dot” part of the name mandatory?

A: Not really. You might hear some folks skip it and say “Terra do.” Internally, we often just refer to the company as “Terra.”

Q: What’s with the “dot do” anyway?

A: The technical answer is it’s the top-level domain associated with the Dominican Republic. We chose it for a different reason, though.

Q: Yeah? How come?

A: Because climate change is such an immense problem—one that requires action, hence doing things. We wanted a name and a web address that spoke to that. This is something our CEO and founder, Anshuman Bapna, spoke about at a recent graduation for fellows finishing our Learning for Action program.

Q: What’d Anshuman say?

A. He was talking about his own background, as someone who’d always been “climate anxious,” and about how as a father of two, that ties into a sense of crisis, of feeling embattled.

“And I didn’t know what to do with that for the longest time,” he said. “And then about four years ago, I started looking at taking this simple first step, which is, ‘How do I educate myself?’ But more importantly, not to just learn something but to do something. And funnily enough, we found the name to go with that—so”

Doing things—taking climate action in a way that fosters a sense of camaraderie, so that finding your path forward isn’t a lonely one—Anshuman emphasized there’s a lot of intentionality around that.

Q: That’s some good backstory. Anything to add about the “Terra” part of the name?

A. The main reason is the aforementioned reference to the planet we’re all trying to save through action on climate change.

As a fun aside though, in the early days of Anshuman’s journey on climate action, he used to sit in a cafe in Bangalore called Cafe Terra. He’d take meetings there discussing climate change, and one day a man overheard him and recommended he speak to his sister-in-law in Hawaii. That’s how Anshuman met his future co-founder and chief learning officer, Dr. Kamal Kapadia.

Q. Nifty. While we’re talking about names, earlier you mentioned a course called Learning for Action. What’s that?

A. The course’s full name is Climate Change: Learning for Action. It’s our flagship program, as the name really sums up what we’re all about. It’s 12 weeks long, 5-10 hours a week, all remote and partly asynchronous. 

It overviews everything from the causes and underlying mechanisms of climate change to its impacts to all the tools we need to use to tackle it—from clean energy to climate communications to wonky stuff like finance and futuristic “carbon dioxide removal” technologies.

Q. Does the course have a nickname?

A. Some folks just shorthand it to LFA. Did we mention financial aid is available?

Q. Sign me up. Where do I go to find out more?

A. Right here, friend.