The Trippy Story of the Earth Flag

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The first photo ever taken of the Earth was inspired by an LSD trip, when biologist Stewart Brand had a premonition that humans would take better care of the planet if they could see it in its entirety, reminding society of the finite space orb that every living thing depends on.

Campaign buttons by Stewart Brand

Through campaigning and relentless determination, NASA finally paid attention and captured the first color photos of Earth from space. When people saw an image of the ‘whole earth’ for the first time, it did exactly what Brand had anticipated during his acid journey: awakened them to the fragility of the planet and instigated a cognitive shift of awareness that was so significant that psychologists now have a term for it: 'the overview effect'. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell describes the overview effect like this:

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’”

The iconic ‘Blue Marble’ image became the symbol of the environmental movement and served as a catalyst towards a massive shift in cultural thought, which was the essence of the counterculture movement that defined the 1960s and challenged the status quo. The Earth image stirred up latent ideas about human’s relationship to the planet and continues to act as the symbol for the environmental movement today. Printed on the very first Earth Day flags in 1970, and now printed on our hemp Jung tee.

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