Friday, May 13, 2022

'Earth on Top' Initiative Qualifies for Arcata Ballot

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2022 at 2:15 PM

click to enlarge The plaza flags as Put the Earth on Top proponents would like to see them fly. - PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/SUBMITTED
  • Photo illustration/submitted
  • The plaza flags as Put the Earth on Top proponents would like to see them fly.
An initiative aiming to direct the city of Arcata to fly the Earth flag atop all city-owned flagpoles — above the American and California flags — has qualified for the November ballot, proponents announced today.

According to a press release, proponents were able to gather 1,381 valid signatures backing the effort, more than the 10 percent of Arcata's registered voters — 1,137 — required to qualify an initiative for the ballot. The initiative will next come before the Arcata City Council, which could choose to approve it directly, though proponents say they will urge the council to let voters decide the matter in order to make "clear that the people of Arcata have chosen to put the Earth on top."

Proponents argue flying the Earth flag on top is logical — as the Earth includes the United States, which includes California — and also an important way to urge people to pay more attention to the Earth's health in the face of the climate crisis.

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


The Humboldt County Elections Department informed us yesterday that we had gathered a sufficient number of 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 at the top of all city-owned flagpoles, above the US and California flags.

Flying the Earth flag at the top is only logical. 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. Excess nationalism, corporate greed, and rampant militarism threaten all life on Earth, both with unchecked global warming, and with the risk of nuclear war. By flying the Earth flag at the top, we make a strong statement that caring for the Earth is our first priority.

Volunteers gathered signatures for the ballot initiative between March 6 and April 26, when the petitions were turned in. The Humboldt County elections office reviewed the petition forms and found 1381 valid signatures. This is significantly more than the required 1137, which represents 10% of Arcata registered voters.

The measure will appear on an upcoming Arcata City Council agenda, where the council will have the option of approving it directly or placing it on the November ballot. Supporters are urging the council to let the voters decide, so it will be clear that the people of Arcata have chosen to Put the Earth on Top.

Text of the ballot initiative:

The people of the City of Arcata do ordain as follows:

It shall be the official policy of the City of Arcata to fly the Earth flag at the top of all city-owned flagpoles, above the flag of the United States of America and the California flag, and any other flags that the city may choose to display.

For the purpose of this measure, the Earth Flag shall be defined as the flag featuring the “Blue Marble” image of the Earth, photographed from the Apollo 17 spacecraft, in 1972.
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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