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.
BEST MOUNTAIN TOPS TO CLIMB
Join us in exploring five epic locations, alternative to Mount Everest, which give thrill seekers that top-of-the-world feeling
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Chris Henry
20 April 2023
If you are among the enthusiasts who dream of summiting the tallest peak in the world, you might be interested in Mount Everest’s controversy and the hiking alternatives.
In 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay were the first to climb the 29,035 feet to the top of Mount Everest. Today Nepal’s South Col remains the most common route for exploring this epic location at the Nepal-China border. However, the high number of climbers and staff has left a negative footprint on the mountain where piles of trash now greet adventurers.
The tourism industry revolving around Everest brings great revenue to the Nepali government, which issued hundreds of permits to climbing staff and enthusiasts just this year. Yet, pollution remains only one of multiple issues on the way to the top of the world. The severe climbing conditions have not only cost the lives of climbers in the past, but the challenging weather also limits climbing opportunities and creates traffic on the way to the top.
Whichever peak you decide to explore, however high, remote or famous, we kindly remind you to plan your adventures in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Nature has gifted us with epic peaks to summit and apart from the legendary Mouth Everest, here are top five challenging alternatives to test your climbing skills.
The Andes, PERU
The Inca Trail in Peru is a 23,000km road to the most famous climbing route in the Americas. Every year nearly 25 thousand climbers take on the 43km hike of stone-paved trail, which leads to the depth of the Cuzco cloud forest. In 1911 Hiram Bingham discovered the list city of the Inca and the extraordinary citadel of Machu Picchu, now accessible through the Inti Punko or Gateway of the Sun. Travellers should start their journey from the village of Qorihuayrachina. This adventure requires 3-4 days of hiking through a variety of ecosystems mixing tropical cloud forests, plain deserts and the high Andean landscapes.
Located on Tanzania’s northern border with Kenya is the highest and most famous African mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet (5,895m) above sea level. It is the home of disappearing ice fields and shrinking glaciers that provoke scientists’ interest. Kilimanjaro consists of three volcanic comes - Mawenzi (5,149m) and Shira (4,005m) are extinct, while Kibo, the highest, is dormant and can erupt again. This major climbing location is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park. The first time someone reached the top was in 1889 and to this day we remember the names Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller with great admiration.
Mount Elbrus, RUSSIA
Located in the Caucasus Mountains between Europe and Asia, lays Mount Elbrus. It is the tenth most prominent summit in the world and the highest mountain in Europe. The double-coned volcano consists of two dormant domes - the west summit (5,642m) and the east summit (5,621m). Elbrus is undeniably a rewarding climb, as the dynamic location of the mountain greets visitors with views over Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia.
This is one of the most recognisable mountains on the European continent, mainly due to its nearly symmetrical pyramid shape. It is located in the Alps, at the border between Switzerland and Italy, reaching a height of 4,478m (14,692 ft). It is considered a geographical landmark and the birthplace of mountaineering as a sport. Climbers reach the summit, which overlooks the Theodul Pass in the east, known since the Roman Era as a trade route and a main passage point between the north and south valleys. The Matterhorn Mountain peak offers views of the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia to the south and the Swiss town of Zermatt to the north-east.
Raising at 20,320 feet above sea level, Mount Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America. Located in the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, this mountain uncovers breathtaking views that inspire ambition in climbers from across the world. The name was used by the local Koyukon people for centuries. Denali is the third most isolated mount on the planet, following Everest and Aconcagua. On June 7, 1913 Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper and Robert Tatum were the first to climb the South Summit. Since 1951 the West Buttress route has been considered the safest and easiest way to reach the summit, following the footsteps of Bradford Washburn. We advise the use of that route and to plan a climb either in May or June in order to avoid the dangerous threats of avalanches.