THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
AUSTRALIA ON FIRE
The fires in Australia are continuing to destroy millions of acres of forest territory. Billions of animals have lost their life and thousands of people have joined forces to help tame the fire disaster. We take a look at the statistics and what you can do to help
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Gez Xavier
11 January 2020
Australia has been going through severe drought this year. Multiple bushfires across the southeast of the country have started to spread to form what is the most devastating fire crisis in the recent history. There are different reasons for the fires to form, from lightnings to nature factors and human actions. The fires quickly spread - a bushfire typically spreads twice as fast as a forest fire and their speed can increese from temperature, humidity and other external factors. The emergency situation on the continent has been covered by multiple media across the globe, yet the danger has not passed yet. We take a look at some of the statistics to summarise what happened since the fires started spreading and how this affected the country.
The fires started in September 2019. Since then there are 25.5 million acres that have been estimated to have burned. This number is expected to rise. Megafires continue to form as fires merge together. The fires are mainly concentrated in New South Wales and Victoria, but they have managed to spread to every single state. To compare, the fires that happened last year in the Amazon rainforest were 2.2 million acres. In the California fires 2 million acres were destroyed.
About 2 000 homes have been destroyed in what is the most devastating fire season in the Australian history. A total of 25 people lost their life. Many firefighters have joined forces to help contain the fires - 2 700 in total as of last weekend and the number has gone up.
It is hard to put down in writing what is the damage for nature and the animal kingdom. The ecosystem is severely shaken as 1 billion animals are lost as result of the fires. Some of them have died from factors caused by them such as loss of habitat, dehydration and disorientation. Over 8 000 koalas have died in the fires, which is a third of the koalas. Animals depend on each other to survive in those forests. The loss of a species, even a change in the habitat, will reflect majorly upon the whole ecosystem and reshape the function of the animal kingdom.
A record-breaking heatwave has started to spread on the continent. The country was already going through its driest and hottest year so far before the fire disaster took place. Record breaking temperatures of over 40°C have been recorded. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s 2018 State of the Climate report since 1910 the temperature in Asutralia has increased with just over 1°C. The smoke that thickens the air has been measured to damage the air quality, making it 11 times the hazardous level.
Victoria declared a state of disaster and NSW is under a state of emergency. State and federal authorities are combining forces to help prevent the situation from becoming more extreme. The numbers of firefighters that are working in designated areas have increased and several fundraisers have been organised to help gather financial support for Australia. A new National Bushfire Recovery Agency has been formed by the government to help with the disaster.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Australian Red Cross - they are accepting donations to put towards recovery relief.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Country Fire Authority and Country Fire Service Foundation - these are also services that you can donate to directly.
WIRES Wildlife Rescue - the organisation is rasing emergency funds.
The Intrepid Foundation - your donation to the organisation will help in the fight of restoring the forests.
Adelaide Koala Rescue - more than a third of the koalas in Australia are dead because of the fires. Through this organisation you can help rescue and take care of the koalas that are currently in danger.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital - the hospital focuses on preserving and rescuing injured koalas.
The CVS Foundation of Volunteer Firefighters - this team of volunteers are working around-the-clock to help with the fire emergency.
Celeste Barber's Facebook Fundraser - the comedian is raising money through social media. It only takes a minute to donate and even thoush Celeste has already topped the amount of money she was hoping to raise, every financial help will make an extreme difference.