Short history of the Ecology Flag

Photo via Wikimedia Commons 

During the 1960s and 1970s, as the environmentalist movement was developing in the USA, different individuals and organizations made several “ecology flags”. One of the contemporary flags that became more famous and is still used today is the “Ecology Flag”. 

A flag for the environment 

The Ecology Flag was based on the American flag due to the stripes in white and green. These colors, among other things, symbolize life and ecology. 

Ecology Flag used at Earth Day manifestation in 2017 in the USA. Photo via Wikimedia Commons. 

The flag also has a letter Θ or “theta” from the Greek alphabet that in old Greek was used as an abbreviation for “thanatos” meaning death. In the case of the Ecology Flag, it was also about making a symbolic message that humans cannot live on a dead planet. 

The first version of the flag was made during the late 1960s. However, the last and current version was made by political cartoonist Rob Cobb who added Θ to the flag. Thereby, Cobb became the creator of the Ecology Flag by publishing its image and an article about it in the Los Angeles Free Press newspaper in 1969.

Cobb’s intention was partly to combine letters e from the environment and o from organism by merging e and o into Θ, and partly to highlight the human threats to the environment and atmosphere of the Earth. 

The first demonstrations and protests

Screenshot Smithsonian Magazine. 

One of the first examples of usage of the flag was done by academic Betsy Boze, who in 1970 was an environmental activist. Boze used Cobb’s image and made an Ecology Flag by herself and used it in demonstrations for environmental care and against pollution. 

Another example is a biology teacher called Raymond Bruzan, who in 1970 at Lanphier High School in Springfield, Illinois, turned his classroom into the “Environmental Action Center”. He wanted together with his students to debate what they could do to protest the nation’s polluted air and water on the first Earth Day, April 22.

After discussions, Buzan and around 60-70 students decided to stage a symbolic and mock funeral procession for “the dead Earth ” due to environmental pollution. They marched to the Illinois State Capitol (parliament assembly), where they would present the lieutenant governor with anti-pollution petitions signed by more than 1,000 people.

Modern usage for modern environmentalism

Screenshot via Berkshire Community College. 

One of the latest examples of usage of the Ecology Flag is from the Earth Day celebration at the Berkshire Community College in the state of Massachusetts.

The flag has since March 2017 been flying at half-staff as a symbol of the “forceful and unprecedented assault on the environment”. During Earth Day, it was raised completely while staff and students highlighted the college’s recycling accomplishments and the involvement in the Campus Waste to Zero Waste project. 

When it comes to Earth Day and its importance or global environmental awareness, the Earth Flag can also be described as an ecology flag since the EarthFlag is based on values such as planetary awareness, sustainability, and cooperation.

Thereby highlighting the importance of climate and environment partly via the blue color symbolizing water and seas and the production of EarthFlag using recycled plastics and hemp. Hemp will be an important part of the future planetary circular economy that we as humanity can co-create and develop together.  

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