Flag of Earth

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Some individuals and organizations have promoted designs for a flag representing the planet Earth, though none have been officially recognized as such by any governmental body. Widely recognized flags associated with Earth include the flag of the United Nations and the Earth Day flag. Listed below are some of the unofficial contenders for a Flag of Earth:

John McConnell's "Earth Day" flag[edit]

The Earth Day flag, John McConnell's latest proposal, includes the 1972 NASA photograph The Blue Marble
McConnell's original 1969 design

A flag designed by John McConnell in 1969 for the first Earth Day is a dark blue field charged with an artistic image of the entire globe from a viewpoint in outer space. He later replaced the image of the Earth with the similar 1972 photograph, The Blue Marble, taken from space by the crew of the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission. The first edition of McConnell's flag used screen-printing and used different colors: ocean and land were blue and the clouds were white. 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 was endorsed by McConnell.[2]

The Blue Marble image was placed in the public domain, and 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 documentation that was issued on it.[1]

United Nations flag[edit]

Adopted in 1946, 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 US.[4]

"World Peace Flag" of Universal Peace Congress[edit]

Van Kirk's World Peace Flag

James William van Kirk, a minister from Youngstown, Ohio, designed in 1913 a peace flag with rainbow stripes, stars and a globe. With this flag, he twice made a peace tour through Europe.[5] The Universal Peace Congress adopted this flag as its World Peace Flag.[6]

Olympic flag[edit]

Designed by Pierre de Coubertin in 1914 and adopted in Olympic games since 1920, the Olympic flag represents all mankind and has a white bar with five interlocking rings of five colors. The five rings represent the five continents.[7] The six colors (including the white color of the background) represent all of the world's nations.[8]

"World Citizen" flag of World Service Authority[edit]

World Citizen flag by Garry Davis

The World Citizen is a social movement for global citizenship under a proposed world government. In 1953, one of its activists, Garry Davis, founded the World Service Authority, which sells the World Passport (a fantasy travel document) with a proposed flag of the world.[9]

Other private proposals[edit]

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[10] 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 the SETI League.[11] The flag flies at the Ohio State University Radio Observatory and was lowered to half mast when Carl Sagan died.[12] Flag of Earth Co. International was also founded by Cadle which sold the flag. The Flag of Earth became public domain in 2003.[13]

Paul Carroll's "World Flag"[edit]

The combined World Flag in 2019.

The World Flag is an international flag created in 1988 by Paul Carroll to act as a symbol to inspire "positive global change while continuing to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity.[14]" The current 2008 version of the combined World Flag has a world map 216 flags; including the flags of every UN member state, the United Nations, and several territories of larger nations.[14]

The 2019 version changed the flag of Belarus, Malawi, Libya, Lesotho, Afghanistan, Paraguay, even Mauritania, new country appears South Sudan and Curacao and different colours changed.[citation needed]

The World Flag has been flown at the UN Headquarters for the A Prayer for Peace event, The World Trade Center, Earth Day in Central Park, and at various other events around the world.[15][16]

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. ^ "Copyright Law - Copyrightability - Articles - Copyright Protection Not Available for Earth Flag".
  4. ^ 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 2017-07-14.
  5. ^ Corien Glaudemans, 'Een vredesapostel uit Ohio', in: Den Haag Centraal, 16 oktober 2009.
  6. ^ Devere Allen, "The Fight for Peace". 1940. p.553.
  7. ^ "The Olympic symbols" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
  8. ^ http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Reports/EN/en_report_1303.pdf
  9. ^ Table of travel documents entitling the holder to cross the external borders and which may be endorsed with a visa - (Parts II and II) and Part V (documents to which visas cannot be affixed. Council of the European Union. 1 December 2008. The World Passport is placed in the latter category.
  10. ^ "The Flag of Earth - Flown".
  11. ^ "What Is the Flag of Earth?". www.setileague.org. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  12. ^ "Carl Sagan". Xs4all.nl. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  13. ^ Cadle, James W. "James Cadle's Flag of Earth Home Page". North American AstroPhysical Observatory (NAAPO). Retrieved 2018-04-02. The Flag of Earth is now 34-years-old, and on November 1, 2003, became part of the public domain.
  14. ^ a b "Vision". WorldFlagProject.org. The World Flag Project. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  15. ^ "History". TheWorldFlag.org. The World Flag Project. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Custom Flags". www.australianflagmakers.com.au.

External links[edit]