The symbol for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day was initially inspired by the history of the celebrated event and it’s personal ties to Albion College. The main layout for the symbol was started by Dr. Doug White, a biology professor at Albion College, who wanted to incorporate the bright tie dye of colors and peace symbol as done in the history of Woodstock events that related to the Earth Day theme.
With the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, the public was given a voice to express the concern about the state of our planet. This environmental consciousness had been growing over the 1960’s with the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act as well as a famous best seller such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Channeling the energy from the anti-war protests of the Vietnam war in the 1960’s the environmental movement incorporated the power and support, and raised to be considered a part of the national political agenda. Overall, the peace symbol is often associated within the history of the colorful hippie movement during this anti-war time. However, the peace symbol originated as a symbol used by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War during the 1960’s. It was created to have a political impact, one that was based off the letters ‘N’ and ‘D’ used in flag movements for communicating visual signals. This ‘N’ and ‘D’ combination stood for nuclear disarmament.
In another light, the peace symbol can also be seen as a wind turbine with the three blades connected to the stand. Taking this idea into mind the centerpiece of the symbol is created to look like a wind turbine in the shape of a peace symbol. The outermost ring of the peace symbol is made up of water and wind bursts to contribute to the use of renewable energy. As a key part of a sustainable future, the use of renewable energy including wind power and hydro power was an important factor and visual to consider while making this logo.
To further connect the Earth Day symbol to the city and college of Albion the “Forks” symbol was incorporated into the background of the logo. Albion was founded at the Forks of the Kalamazoo River and has incorporated this geographical aspect into its city symbol. Using the colors that most often represent Earth, blue and green, the Forks of Albion were filled in color and faded into the background of the logo.
Lastly comes the saying that wraps around the symbol, “Let All Life Flourish Forever”. As the Director of the Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr. Doug White wanted to incorporate a famous quote by John R. Ehrenfeld. Ehrenfeld defined sustainability as “the possibility that human and other life with flourish on the planet forever,” in an interview with MIT in 2009. He further said that “[sustainability is] like health, or liberty, or freedom: it appears only when the whole system is functioning properly.” Ehrenfeld has written a few books, two of which incorporate the term ‘Flourish’ into their titles.