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“Earth on Top” initiative qualifies for Arcata vote

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  • Photo illustration/submitted
  • The plaza flags that Put the Earth on Top supporters would like to see flown.

An initiative to order the city of Arcata to fly the Earth flag on all city-owned flagpoles — above the American and California flags — has qualified for the November ballot, it was announced today. supporters today.

According to a press release, supporters were able to collect 1,381 valid signatures supporting the effort, more than the 10% of Arcata’s registered voters — 1,137 — required to qualify an initiative for the ballot. The initiative will then go to Arcata City Council, which could choose to approve it outright, although supporters say they will urge the council to let voters decide the issue to make it clear “that the people of Arcata have chosen to put the Earth on top.”

Proponents argue that flying the Earth flag on top makes sense – because Earth includes the United States, which includes California – and also an important way to urge people to pay more attention to health of the Earth in the face of the climate crisis.

See the full press release copied below and find an op-ed from initiative creator Dave Meserve here.

The Humboldt County Department of Elections informed us yesterday that we have collected enough valid signatures on our petition to qualify for the November ballot in Arcata.

The initiative directs the city of Arcata to fly the Earth Flag atop all flagpoles owned by the city, above the American and Californian flags.

Flying the Earth flag at the top only makes sense. The Earth includes our nation, which includes our state.

We need to pay more attention to the health of the Earth, because we can only have a healthy nation if we have a healthy Earth. Excessive nationalism, corporate greed and rampant militarism threaten all life on Earth, both with runaway global warming and the risk of nuclear war. By flying the Earth Flag at the summit, we firmly affirm that caring for the Earth is our first priority.

Volunteers collected signatures for the ballot initiative between March 6 and April 26, when the petitions were delivered. The Humboldt County Office of Elections reviewed petition forms and found 1,381 valid signatures. This is significantly more than the required 1137, which represents 10% of registered voters in Arcata.

The measure will be on the agenda for the next Arcata City Council, where the council will have the option of approving it outright or placing it on the November ballot. Supporters are urging the council to let voters decide, so it will be clear that the people of Arcata have chosen to put Earth on top.

Text of the ballot initiative:

The people of the city of Arcata order the following:

It shall be the official policy of the Town of Arcata to fly the Flag of the Earth atop all flagpoles owned by the town, above the Flag of the United States of America and the Flag of California, and any other flag that the city can choose to display.

For the purposes of this measurement, the flag of Earth should be defined as the flag featuring the “Blue Marble” image of the Earth, photographed from the Apollo 17 spacecraft, in 1972.