Since the dawn of history, men, people and especially armies have flown flags and banners. The first ones, in fact, were an aid to co-ordinating troop movements on battlefields. Each flag indicated the exact position of a column of soldiers, and when the flag fell and no one hoisted it anew, the generals knew that column had been wiped out. The origin of flags is a sad one indeed. . .

In war, waving a white flag is emblematic of a truce or surrender. When the concept of the nation-state was born, with the French Revolution, the countries of the world all adopted national flags, which were then flown in all the wars that followed. Flags have always symbolized war, marked borders, proclaimed independence, victory or defeat. Rarely have they been associated exclusively with a message of peace. The flag of the United Nations might be considered an exception, as may those of humanitarian organizations, but still. . . Flags often blow in the wind over lands marked by war, natural disasters or epidemics.

Which is why the flag we want to create for the North Pole is something entirely unprecedented: a banner of peace, to be planted in a place that has always known peace. Young people from all over the world who renounce violence and environmental destruction are being invited to design this triangular banner, which will sway gently on the seabed, four kilometres beneath the ice, next to the time capsule containing the names of the first one million people who signed the Save the Arctic petition. All by themselves, these young people will have changed the history of flags. Building on their dreams, they are creating the first-ever Flag for the Future.

To learn all about the Flag for the Future contest, and to enter, visit