John Muir – Three days that saved the world

Thoughts on EARTH DAY 20 – 22 April

John Muir’s Earth

One of the most poignant of the stories that have emerged from the commemorations marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is the one about German and British troops laying down their arms and emerging from their trenches to exchange greetings and share rations on the Western Front on Christmas Eve 1914. Some even say that a football match took place though evidence is scant. If it did, what a pity it wasn’t a game played for two years each way. Football could then truly have justified its claim to be ‘the beautiful game’. The sad irony is that this spontaneous outburst of goodwill lasted for only a few hours and foresaw four years of senseless slaughter and destruction resulting in the deaths of tens of millions, leaving much of central Europe as a vast wasteland.

Against this background the peaceful death of one man some 6000 miles away seems relatively insignificant, but John Muir was no ordinary human being, for his legacy was the prevention of even more senseless destruction in the name of so-called ‘progress’. Although much of what he preached about the conservation of our natural heritage only came into being after his passing, nevertheless his influence is felt to this day. And we can be thankful for that.

It is said that ‘history teaches fools’ and ‘those who forget it (history) are doomed to repeat it’. And doomed we might have been if not for this eccentric genius, and a remarkable three days spent by two men in the wilderness of North America.

John Muir was born in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland in 1838 and emigrated with his family to the United States of America in 1848. Throughout his life he developed an ever-growing fondness for wild places and wild creatures. Largely self-taught this son of East Lothian became a poet, philosopher, preacher, inventor and mountaineer, as well as an expert in the fields of botany and geology.

His journeys into the vast wilderness of 19th.Century America brought him to discover the oneness and order of the natural world in which ‘every rock, plant and animal is a golden thread in the infinite fabric of life, and from which no fibre can be pulled without spoiling the whole.’

‘When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with all the other stars, all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. This show is eternal.’

This extraordinary man, regarded today as the ‘Father of Conservation’, was truly ahead of his time. His passionate concern for the future of our planet, allied to a unique clarity of thought and expression, enabled him to influence the world’s most powerful men through his writing. It seems extraordinary by today’s standards but he persuaded the then President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt, to join him on a three-day excursion into the wilderness of Yosemite. It’s believed to be the only time in US history that a President has been without his Secret Service bodyguard. Together they explored the, mountains, forests and rivers of the Sierra Nevada; they hugged trees in a lightning storm and slept under the stars. Roosevelt left Yosemite a convert to the idea of conservation.

‘Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of the safety and continuance of the nation.’

America must have seemed like a bounty of infinite resource to the early settlers, but 19th C industrialisation and exploitation were already beginning to take their toll on the natural environment. It was to be several years before the National Parks Service Bill was signed and passed into law “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations”, but one can only imagine with horror how America, and perhaps the rest of the planet, might look today had the exploitation of its resources continued unabated throughout the 20th C. John Muir’s legacy in the form of America’s sixty-two National Parks is there for all to see and enjoy, and his thoughts and writings have encouraged conservation worldwide thanks to those three days in the wilderness.

We can only imagine the conversations that took place between these two great men. So let’s do that.

Let’s imagine that the following postcard was written by John Muir to his wife Louisa at their family home in Martinez, California after spending two nights in the wilderness of Yosemite with President Teddy Roosevelt.

It is generally understood that it was this ‘adventure’ that persuaded Roosevelt to introduce the concept of ‘National Parks’ in the USA.

Let us imagine that President Roosevelt was so moved by his experience in Yosemite that he wrote the following postcard to John Muir a few weeks after he returned to Washington.



The John Muir tartan was created in 1998 by David McGill for the 150th anniversary of John Muir’s arrival in the United States and was launched at a reception in the San Francisco Bay area City of Pleasanton in 2002 when Muir’s grand-son accepted an inscribed tartan clock and picture frame on behalf of the Muir family. It is registered on the Scottish Tartan Register No.2682
The colours in the John Muir Tartan were chosen to represent what Muir first saw, and invited us all to see, long before man walked on the moon: the earth spinning silently through infinite space.” The postcards to his wife Lousia, depicted above were distributed at the exhibition – “In the Footsteps of John Muir” –  by Scottish photographer Ken Paterson at Federal Hall in New York City in April 2013. Framed copies of Ken Paterson’s photographs are available and can be seen at www.kenpaterson.co.uk. The exhibition “In the Footsteps of John Muir” will be on display in the Scottish Parliament this January.

The JOHN MUIR Tartan

DESIGN NOTES

John Muir was born in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland in 1838 and emigrated with his family to the United States of America in 1848. Throughout his life he developed an ever-growing fondness wild places and wild creatures. Largely self-taught this son of East Lothian became a poet, philosopher, preacher, inventor and mountaineer, as well as an expert in the fields of botany and geology.

His journeys into the vast wilderness of 19th. Century America brought him to discover the oneness and order of the natural world in which ‘every rock, plant and animal is a golden thread in the infinite fabric of life, and from which no fibre can be pulled without spoiling the whole.’

‘When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with all the other stars, all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. This show is eternal.’

This extraordinary man, regarded today as the ‘Father of Conservation’, was truly ahead of his time. His passionate concern for the future of our planet, allied to a unique clarity of thought and expression, enabled him to influence the world’s most powerful men. His legacy in the form of America’s National Parks is there for all to see and enjoy.

The JOHN MUIR tartan was woven to celebrate the 150th. Anniversary of his arrival in America, and the colours chosen to represent what he first saw, and invited us all to see, long before man walked on the moon: “…the fragile earth spinning silently through infinite space.”

Registered on the Scottish Tartans Register No. 2933

NEW! International Tartans Facemasks

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We are delighted to announce a first batch of International Tartans Facemasks. These facemasks have been individually handmade in Scotland from 100% wool with a cotton lining. Each tartan is officially registered with the Scottish Tartan Register.

Although not classified as PPE in accordance with WHO guidelines, science tells us that wearing them will stop the
spread of viruses. They should be hand-washed only, but never left soaking.


They are not disposable: they are masks for life. They may save your life, the lives of others, and help save the life of the planet.

Masks are priced at £15.00 each + p&p. The Sakura Olympic Special mask

is priced at £20.00 + p&p. To order click here or email David at info@internationaltartans.co.uk. Payment will be made via PayPal.

International Tartans Facemasks

Coming soon: Denmark, Daugherty, Ghana, Holland, Internationale Lanarkshire Midlothian, New Jersey, Nigeria, Norway, Queen of Scots, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, South Africa, St Andrew, Wimbledon. Arsenal, East Lothian, Finland, Florida, India, Mexico, Newcastle, Sweden and Zimbabwe.

The Three Days that Saved the World (part two)

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John Muir was born in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland in 1838 and emigrated with his family to the United States of America in 1848. Throughout his life he developed an ever-growing fondness for wild places and wild creatures. Largely self-taught this son of East Lothian became a poet, philosopher, preacher, inventor and mountaineer, as well as an expert in the fields of botany and geology.

His journeys into the vast wilderness of 19th.Century America brought him to discover the oneness and order of the natural world in which ‘every rock, plant and animal is a golden thread in the infinite fabric of life, and from which no fibre can be pulled without spoiling the whole.’

‘When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with all the other stars, all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. This show is eternal.’

This extraordinary man, regarded today as the ‘Father of Conservation’, was truly ahead of his time. His passionate concern for the future of our planet, allied to a unique clarity of thought and expression, enabled him to influence the world’s most powerful men through his writing. It seems extraordinary by today’s standards but he persuaded the then President of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt, to join him on a three-day excursion into the wilderness of Yosemite. It’s believed to be the only time in US history that a President has been without his Secret Service bodyguard. Together they explored the, mountains, forests and rivers of the Sierra Nevada; they hugged trees in a lightning storm and slept under the stars. Roosevelt left Yosemite a convert to the idea of conservation.

‘Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of the safety and continuance of the nation.’

America must have seemed like a bounty of infinite resource to the early settlers, but 19th C industrialisation and exploitation were already beginning to take their toll on the natural environment. It was to be several years before the National Parks Service Bill was signed and passed into law “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations”, but one can only imagine with horror how America, and perhaps the rest of the planet, might look today had the exploitation of its resources continued unabated throughout the 20th C. John Muir’s legacy in the form of America’s sixty-two National Parks is there for all to see and enjoy, and his thoughts and writings have encouraged conservation worldwide thanks to those three days in the wilderness.

The US Congress passed legislation on June 8, 1872 that approved government production of postal cards, and the first government-produced postcard was issued on May 1, 1873.

Although not on this format, the following words were written by President Roosevelt to John Muir a few weeks after he returned to Washington.

john

The John Muir tartan was created in 1998 by David McGill for the 150th anniversary of John Muir’s arrival in the United States and was launched at a reception in the San Francisco Bay area City of Pleasanton in 2002 when Muir’s grand-son accepted an inscribed tartan clock and picture frame on behalf of the Muir family. It is registered on the Scottish Tartan Register No.2682

 

The SAN FRANCISCO & MISSOURI Tartans

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Superbowl LIV between San Francisco ‘49ers and Kansas City Chiefs in the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida a few weeks ago was not only one of the greatest comebacks in Superbowl history, but the first-ever all-tartan final. Congratulations to Kansas City Chiefs and commiserations to San Francisco.

missouri tartan#

Missouri Tartan

san francisco tartan

The San Francisco Tartan

The McBRAYER tartan

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Behind the McBrayer tartan is the remarkable story of Tim Bruce Sanders and his family and what they are attempting to do on their farm in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in a remote corner of Kentucky. Their website is well worth a visit – www.indiancreeksettlement.com

From a fragment of ancient cloth in the archives of the Scottish Tartans Authority, International Tartans has been able to reproduce the McBrayer (McBrier) tartan in honour of their grandfather Ichabod McBrayer. The design will be used for labelling a wide range of local produce in the farm shop, and the cloth itself will be used by local craftworkers to make a range of hand-made tartan accessories for sale in the gift shop.

This unique social enterprise will be run in strict accordance with the ‘Land Ethic’ outlined by American environmental philosopher and naturalist Aldo Leopold:

”The Land Ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals, or collectively, the land.”

Aldo Leopold was a professor of wildlife management who was pivotal in the designation of Gila National Forest in New Mexico in 1924 as America’s first national wilderness area. Leopold introduced the concept of this land ethic, arguing that humans should transform themselves from conquerors of nature into citizens of it. In this, he was extending the preservationist philosophy of John Muir (1838–1914), founder of the Sierra Club and known as the father of conservation. Without men such as these, there might not be a planet left to save today. 

mcbryer

The McBRAYER Tartan

 

 

The SOUTH KOREA Tartan

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Could our ancestors ever have imagined that the royal and ancient game of golf, a game invented and developed over five hundred years ago in Scotland, home to the world’s ruling body and so many world-famous courses, would ever become so popular? Perhaps. What they could never have foreseen though is that citizens of a nation-state which was only formed some 70 years ago on the other side of the world, would become so successful at playing it. Except they have and they haven’t.

Having three players in the ‘Top 100’ of the World Ranking List is no big deal. Even Scotland has one! But what would really astonish our ancestors, and has many of the ‘elite’ in the hallowed halls of our most prestigious clubs spluttering into their gin and tonics is that one country has thirty-seven nationals in their ‘Top 100’. I am course referring to the women of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), a species of golfer which was not even allowed inside certain clubhouses until recently. I wonder what would old Willie Auchterlonie make of the fact that there are more South Korean women called Lee (10) and Kim (7) in the ‘women’s Top 100’ than there are men from England, Scotland Ireland and Wales combined (14) in the male equivalent? Jings! (Just for the record Jings, thank goodness, is not a South Korean name. It’s Chinese).

I wonder how many of these elegant young women will be sporting the South Korean tartan on the course this season. Keep a sharp lookout.

south korea tartan

And another thing. Congratulations from Scotland to Boon Jong-Ho, Director and Co-writer of ‘Parasite’ the film which picked up four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards recently. This South Korean production is the first-ever foreign-language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. A South Korean tartan tie is on its way to Boon Jong-Ho to mark the occasion.

The ETHIOPIA Tartan

Last October Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government in the Scottish Government led a delegation to the Social Enterprise World Forum in Addis Ababa. Amongst the delegates was Hazel Smith, CEO of ReTweed, International Tartans’ main supplier of tartan accessories.

International Tartans supplied ReTweed with a length of Ethiopia tartan which they made into ties, scarves and plaid brooches to take as gifts. Their Ethiopian hosts were astonished and delighted to be given something that carried the colours of their national flag.

Neil Munro, an environmental scientist now based in Addis Ababa formerly worked in Sudan. When in Khartoum he helped form the Khartoum Caledonian Society which adopted the Sudan tartan. Although kilts were made in Scotland the Caledonian Society used local craftworkers to make a range of accessories with a view to establishing a job-creating social enterprise. Upon hearing of the Ethiopia tartan, Neil immediately ordered Ethiopia tartan products for his fellow Scots and is currently trying to establish a Caledonian Society in Addis Ababa. Such is the universal versatility of Scotland’s ‘international calling-card’ it can be used as a unifying force for good and for promoting Scotland almost anywhere in the world.

Although these are tiny steps on a long road towards the level of international co-operation that will be needed if we are to ensure our planet is fit for generations to come, it is a start and a welcome one.

The ROYAL NAVY Tartan – ‘For Those in Peril on the Sea’

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The design of the Royal Navy tartan encompasses those colours historically associated with the Senior Service: red, white and blue for the various ensigns, royal purple for its title, and all in a setting of navy blue: the sea, the endless sea.

As such it is intended to provide a common bond between ‘sailors’ regardless of rank, and identity for informal occasions, and even everyday wear.

It is, however, more than just a symbol of brotherhood/sisterhood. International Tartans operates a policy of sharing and caring by contributing to ‘good causes’ with a nautical background.

The Royal Navy tartan

Registered with the Scottish Tartans World Register No. STWR 2840

The INTERNATIONALE Tartan

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The title of the design is taken from the universal anthem of the same name, and is intended to provide a common bonding theme for democratic socialists worldwide in keeping with the concluding line of the chorus: ‘The Internationale unites the human race’. The design itself can be reproduced to give that common theme a unique physical identity in the form of tartan. Although at times misused and cheapened, tartan has a broad popular appeal to people of all countries and is instantly recognisable.

An appropriate choice of colours in a tartan can give it a yet more specific identity – in modern parlance, a brand, and over time, by repetition, a recognisable brand. The colours for the Internationale tartan have been chosen to reflect those linked to the socialist movement, but with fashion in mind, by retaining their traditional red and (part) yellow colours, but in the softer tones implied in the battle-hymn of the Suffragettes: Bread and Roses.

‘As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day 
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts grey 
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing, bread and roses, bread and roses.

As we go marching, marching, we’re standing proud and tall.
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.

Illustrated below is an example of the best-selling item in Scotland’s tourist shops – the lambswool scarf: useful, stylish, light and comfortable to wear, and affordable.

At £20.00 (inc P&P) these exclusive tartan scarves make an ideal gift for family and friends, or maybe you just want to treat yourself. A donation of £5.00 from each sale will be made to local food banks. Get in touch to order one at info@internationaltartans.co.uk or click here.

The Tartan is Registered No. 11376 on the Scottish Tartans Register

internationale tartan

The ETHIOPIA tartan and the Nobel Peace Prize

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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Abiy Ahmed Ali, President of Ethiopia, “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.” The next initiative he says is to unite the 80 or so tribes and ethnic groups that make up the 105 million population in one of the world’s oldest and poorest countries.

The flag of Ethiopia uses the colours red, yellow and green, which have come to be known as the ‘Pan-African’ colours, and have been adopted into the flags of a dozen other nations. The Ethiopia tartan comprises these, along with the central blue circle and gold pentagram, to create a unifying symbol that embodies an entire nation. The unique qualities of tartan are such that this ‘national’, inter-tribal symbol can be used in a wide variety of ways and forms from every-day and ceremonial clothing and accessories, to giftware and printed paper goods.

Alache Malia Ode OBE, lecturer in International Development at Birkbeck College, University of London described each of the designs in the ‘tartans for Africa’ range as

Tartans that inspire self-pride, a kind of cultural connectivity that is positive by using a product from one culture to infuse cultural relevance in another. In a subtle way, it represents the entirety of what multiculturalism, interculturalism or whatever ‘isms’ seek to achieve.’

The world recognises tartan as Scottish in origin, but gifting this unique design to Ethiopia at a time when it is once again in the international spotlight can only highlight the ‘ism’ of our common humanity in a way that benefits both nations.

To celebrate President Abiy Ahmed Ali’s achievement International Tartans have created a unique gift in the Ethiopia tartan which will be sent to the Ethiopian Embassy in London for forwarding to Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopia tartan on display at ‘Tartans for Africa’ fashion show:

ethiopia tartan