Flag of the Earth

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The idea of a flag of the Earth is a flag used to represent the Earth. Concepts revolving around this theme include political, spiritual and environmental aspects of the planet. Although there is no internationally agreed upon flag to represent the whole planet, some individuals and organizations have promoted designs for a flag.

To date no flag has received any "official recognition" by any governmental body. The most widely recognized flags associated with Earth are the Earth Day flag and the United Nations flag. Listed below are the unofficial contenders for a possible Flag of Earth.

John McConnell's Earth Day flag[edit]

The Earth Day flag, John McConnell's latest proposal
McConnell's original design

A flag designed by John McConnell in 1969 for the first Earth Day is a dark blue field charged with The Blue Marble, a famous NASA photo of the Earth as seen from outer space. The first edition of McConnell's flag used screen-printing and used different colors: ocean and land were white and the clouds were blue. McConnell presented his flag to the United Nations as a symbol for consideration.[1]

Because of the political views of its creator and its having become a symbol of Earth Day, the flag is associated with environmental awareness, and the celebration of the global community.[1] It was offered for sale originally in the Whole Earth Catalog, and is the only flag which is currently endorsed by McConnell.[2]

The Blue Marble image was placed in the public domain where it remains to this day. The public nature of this image was the basis of a legal battle that resulted in the invalidation of a trademark and copyright that was originally issued to the Earth Day flag through its original promotional entity, World Equity, Inc.[3] This does not invalidate the official history of McConnell's flag, only the official patent that was issued on it.[1]

One Flag in Space[edit]

The One Flag in Space initiative is an offshoot of the Space Generation Congress (SGC), the Space Generation Advisory Council's yearly world meeting. It promotes usage of the Blue Marble flag for space exploration (it does not explicitly mention it being McConnell's design).

James W. Cadle's "Flag of Earth"[edit]

Flag of Earth by James Cadle

Another Earth flag was created around the same time in 1970 by a farmer from Homer, Illinois[4] named James W. Cadle. Cadle's version of the Earth flag consists of a blue circle representing Earth in the center of the flag, a segment of a large yellow circle representing the sun and a small white circle for the moon, all on a black background. It is particularly popular amongst SETI researchers and is used by SETI worldwide. The flag flies at the Ohio State University Radio Observatory and was lowered to half mast when Carl Sagan died.[5] Flag of Earth Co. International was also founded by Cadle which sold the flag. The Flag of Earth became public domain in 2003.[6]

YouTube uses a small thumbnail image of this flag next to a user's name when the site cannot determine geo-location during a comment post.[7]

World Peace Flag[edit]

Illustration of Van Kirk's flag
Further information: Peace flag § Earth flag

James William van Kirk, a minister from Youngstown, Ohio, designed a peace flag with rainbow stripes, stars and a globe. With this flag, he twice made a peace tour through Europe.[8] The Universal Peace Congress adopted this flag as its World Peace Flag.[9]

United Nations flag[edit]

The flag of the United Nations has been used to indicate world unity, although it technically only represents the United Nations itself. It has a geographical representation of the planet, and its high visibility usage makes it a well-known contender for representing Earth. During the planning for NASA's moon landings of the 1960s, it was suggested that a UN flag be used in place of the flag of the U.S.[10]

The World Flag[edit]

the World Flag in 2006

The World Flag is an international flag created in 1988 by Paul Carroll to increase awareness of common challenges for humanity with regard to globalization in today's world. In the center of the flag, there is a world map surrounded by the flags of 216 countries and territories and the UN flag.[11]

Anne Kirstine Rønhede's "World Flag"[edit]

World Flag

An other example of a World Flag is a flag that was conceived by Anne Kirstine Rønhede around 2000. The purpose of the flag was to be a symbol, that does not belong to any organisation, of coexistence and peace. This World Flag was supposed to exist alongside the national flags. It was designed in order to be easy to make so that everyone who wants can make one by themself. The colors symbolize the Earth with its atmosphere in the middle of the Universe.

The International Flag of the Planet Earth[edit]

Oskar Pernefeldt’s proposal

In May 2015 a Swedish artist, Oskar Pernefeldt,[12] formally proposed the International Flag of the Planet Earth.[13] It was conceived to be used in space expeditions and it has two main purposes:

  1. To be used while representing planet Earth.
  2. To remind the people of Earth that we share this planet, no matter of national boundaries. That we should take care of each other and the planet we live on.

The creators predict that it will be eventually used in Mars landing in 2025 or in a future colony on that planet. The design of the flag consists of seven rings intersecting each other and a deep-blue-sea in the background. The rings are centered on the flag forming a flower in the middle, representing life on Earth. The intersection of the rings represent that all things on Earth are linked directly or indirectly. The rings are organized in a Borromean rings–like fashion,[citation needed] representing how no part of Earth can be removed without the whole structure collapsing. Finally, the deep-blue represents the ocean and the importance of water for life on Earth.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Weir (2007). Peace, Justice, Care of Earth. Press On Publishing. ISBN 0971749124. 
  2. ^ "Authentic Earth Flag". Earthflag.net. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  3. ^ http://www.tabberone.com/Trademarks/CopyrightLaw/Copyrightability/articles/EarthFlagVsAlamoFlag_A.shtml
  4. ^ http://www.flagofearth.org/flown.html
  5. ^ "Carl Sagan". Xs4all.nl. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  6. ^ http://www.flagofearth.org/original.html
  7. ^ http://bayimg.com/CApIJAAfa[dead link]
  8. ^ Corien Glaudemans, 'Een vredesapostel uit Ohio', in: Den Haag Centraal, 16 oktober 2009.
  9. ^ Devere Allen, "The Fight for Peace". 1940. p.553.
  10. ^ Platoff, Anne (August 2003). "Where No Flag Has Gone Before: Political and Technical Aspects of Placing a Flag on the Moon (NASA Contractor Report 188251)". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  11. ^ Grigg, Sarah (January 2008). "The World Flag Project" (PDF). North American Vexillological Association. pp. 5–8. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "The International Flag of the Planet Earth". Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Here’s what the flag of Planet Earth could look like". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 

External links[edit]