Anybody besides me remember this?

Yeah, I’m still here. Been really busy with ADCO work. Maybe that’s a good sign for the economy. I don’t know; too soon to tell.

Anyway, we’re working on a couple of thing with environmental themes, and today I was brainstorming with our Creative Director (speaking of creative directors, I’m trying to carve out a niche in the ad game where all I do is what Don Draper does, which is look briefly at the product of someone else’s hard work and say, “That doesn’t work” — kind of like I used to do at the newspaper — then I’d have a drink and take a nap in my office), and… where was I before that parenthetical?

Oh, yeah. So suddenly it hit me. There’s no widely-understood symbol for environmental concerns. Not a single one, that could suggest everything — clean air and water, recycling, concern about climate change, conservation, carbon footprint, etc. Oh, you can do a stylized picture of a tree. Or the whole Earth, as seen from space (satisfied now, Stewart Brand?). But those could mean different things. And the recycling arrows are too specific. There’s the word, “green,” and you can do various visual things with that, but… there’s no one, shorthand symbol.

Then suddenly I thought of the theta symbol. But then I remembered it had been something like 40 years since I had seen that one used. But when it was used, it was used to express the whole shooting match. It was to environmentalism (which was a word we did NOT yet use, as I recall) what the peace symbol was to the antiwar movement.

I’m guessing people were turned off by the symbol’s association with death — which was, as I recall, one reason why it was used as a symbol for the movement. It was a warning that we were poisoning the Earth.

In any case, I once had a T-shirt with the above “Ecology Flag” on it. (Which the Web teaches me was created by artist Ron Cobb — not to be confused with the notorious SC lobbyist — in 1969.) At about the same time, I had a Kent State-themed one that was plain white in the front, with a big target on the back, with the word “Student” under it. I wore that around the USC campus in the fall of 1971 — my one semester as a Gamecock. Other kids wore garnet and black; I preferred to be different.

But I digress. Do any of y’all remember the theta being used to express ecological sensibilities, or am I alone here?

11 thoughts on “Anybody besides me remember this?

  1. Mark Stewart

    When the flag first flashed on my screen I thought it was the proposed new flag for a post-default Greece; you know, after the United Arab Emirates’ buy up all their state assets.

  2. Hunter

    I remember that very well. We carried Cobb in our school paper. My roommate, 3 years senior to me, went off to DC to organize the first Earth Day with Peter Harnick. (sp?)

  3. James Brown

    Sure do remember it. I painted a replica of this flag on a large piece of plywood and had it on display in the basement of my parents home in Westwood Massachusetts in 1971.

  4. robert

    I am an ecologist! One who also likes to confuse people with forgotten symbols, slang, etc.

    Not only that, but I think this was a really great design, even if the slogan of the day was ‘ecology now, man!’, which sounds as cohesive as ‘geology now, man!’ – but the sentiment was good (environmental conservation now, man!’).

    Anyway, I buy Ecology Flag patches now & then offa eb, sew them on my bike bags or whatever. This spring I bought a 3×5′ EcoFlag (same source; made in china but OK quality, ~$7 shipped) and proudly fly it when car-camping. I sort of hope the Armageddon fantasist/gun nut types get a little scared, thinking I’m part of a completely unknown cult thus possibly more dangerous then them…

    I also think it makes my camp look cool, and how many professions have their own flag?

    [ps – here’s a little more on the design:
    and: ]

  5. Glenn Hurtt

    Yup. even had a t shirt. earth green with yellow theta symbol on it.
    been looking all over the net for a replacement.


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