The Flag of Earth - History

Visit James Cadle's original Flag of Earth website, re-created here, for historical purposes only:

The original Flag of Earth website

History of the Flag of Earth

Before the first astronauts landed on the Moon, everyone knew that they would plant the American flag as a symbol of the accomplishment. This is the way it has always been since the voyages of the conquistadores. But there was a small movement which urged that it would be more appropriate for the first flag planted by Humankind on an extraterrestrial body be a flag representing all the people of Earth, rather than just one nation. Clearly, all inhabitants of Earth realized that it was the United States that led the way to the moon landing, so no loss of national recognition would have occurred as a result of not planting the American flag. In fact, the reverse is true: a showing of humility and of sharing this great accomplishment with everyone would have earned great respect and admiration. (Unfortunately this movement failed: the sentiment of decision-makers was that the American taxpayers paid for this so they are going to get the credit for it.)

At that time, the flag of the United Nations was being promoted as the most obvious flag to use for the purpose of representing all of Earth. But it does not really represent every person on the Earth, and it is the flag of a specific organization. Its use would also require approval by that organization, and that might cause a long political debate and obfuscation.

Some time later, James Cadle, who lived on a farm in rural Illinois, was inspired by this debate to create the Flag of Earth. It is intended to be used for ANY purpose that is representative of Humankind as a whole, and not connected to any country, organization, or individual. James made it his life's work to promote and distribute this flag everywhere. He and his wife made the flags on their kitchen table, and sold them for what it cost to make and distribute them.

Cadle ultimately distributed many hundreds of flags worldwide. They are used for many purposes. Many astronomical observatories engaged in the scientific Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence fly the Flag of Earth, because SETI is Humankind's reaching out into the universe to seek other life. The Megaconference uses it as a symbol of its promoting international togetherness, through Internet video conferencing.

Sadly, James Cadle passed away a few years ago, and his family did not continue his work of making and distributing flags. The flags became unavailable. Before he passed away, he placed the flag in the public domain, so anyone could make their own flags. Now, the North American Astrophysical Observatory (a not-for-profit, volunteer organization), with the support of the Cadle family, has taken up the cause of the flag, and so once again it is available to anyone who wishes to have one. The details of that are explained elsewhere on this web site.

- January, 2008

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