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.
GO RETRO THIS SUMMER
We look back into simpler times to gain inspiration for enjoying summertime by learning to appreciate your surroundings and seeking ways to benefit the life in your local community
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Elizabeth French
07 August 2020
NOMADSofORIGIN takes a step back in time. With the social and economic uncertainty surrounding the current coronavirus situation, the summer season of 2020 raises many questions among travellers from all over the world. We glimpse into a moment in history when times were simpler and vacationers spend summertime in blissful appreciation of all the good things in life. This is our editors’ ultimate guide to how to spend this year’s summer holiday.
This year many people struggled with cancelled travel plans and seeking an alternative to match that perfect summer trip is not always easy. Some countries are still under isolation restrictions, while nations that rely on the tourism industry balance the constantly changing situation of safety amid one of the most profitable times of the year. We look at how living "retro" can create the perfect atmosphere for an unforgettable summer.
One of the greatest aspects of the unprecedented situation that hoovers over the entire world in 2020 is the extra time people got to spend with their loved ones. Whether you are surrounded by friends or family members, don’t forget to cherish these times of togetherness. While travelling to some places is still off the table, here is how to spend summertime in a parallel of fun and sustainability.
Learn to Relax
Whether people commute to work, or the office has been moved at home, the overload of our daily to-do lists can easily take the better of us. When this happens, it’s important to remember that it is okay to let go. Find a good balance between work and leisure time and optimise the latter to the fullest. Think of your grandmother’s youth when Netflix wasn’t a thing and people had to make the effort to go to the cinema. Spend your ‘me time’ practising a hobby or doing something that recharges your mind and body.
Live Life Local
One of the greatest gifts in life is the community of people, who might live in the same region as you, yet everyone has their unique talent. Some create art, others make music, or run the local businesses in your neighbourhood. Whether the city you live in has an abundance of restaurants, cafés, galleries, florists, food markets or record stores – go exploring. At times when we have the luxury of visiting cities all over the world, shopping locally is often overlooked. This summer is your chance to get to learn more about your community. Whether your neighbours grow organic vegetables for sale down the street, a striving musician tries to gain recognition in town or a local artist showcases their work in an upcoming exhibition, make sure to support your local venues and the creative members of your community.
Take Day Trips
Whether you own a car, a boat or a bicycle make room for exploring. If this summer season you cannot travel somewhere exotic, find the nearby tucked-away spots you may not have discovered yet. Most cities on every continent have something they stand out with. Whether your home place has rich history, unusual gastronomic scene, picturesque nature or vivid cultural values, taking pride in all things local comes naturally once you explore cities beyond your own.
Think of the Common Good
If your summer days stretch a bit long, find something to do that might benefit you or your entire community. Create initiative to clear out the neighbourhood. You could also plant small flower gardens near local business venues or children playgrounds to make the area more appealing. Think of your surroundings and things that need improving. Whether the local café is struggling to remain open, or you want to bring in something new, the sky is the limit. Summer is the time many people rely on tourists to make ends meet for the rest of the year and 2020 will be extremely challenging for them, but maybe you can help. Think of the common good through things like air clearing stations, better playgrounds, more parks or even a football terrain for people to become more active. Whether you can create and sell something artistic or you have a skill to teach others, such as a foreign language or a cooking class with intriguing recipes, you can inspire local fundraisers to create positive changes in the city you live in.
Detach From Social Media
History remembers simpler times before the technological breakthrough created today’s rapid excess of consumerism. Nowadays, many tend to spend more time in front of phone and computer screens, while the best view might be right outside their own windows. Take a week or two to focus on your surroundings. Instead of glimpsing into other people’s holiday spots, make the best of what you’ve got. Whether you live by a lake, near a mountain, at a coast or in the middle of a big city, let your own version of reality overtake the world in your social media.
Make Outdoors Dining a Thing
There is nothing better than a home cooked meal with local ingredients enjoyed under the creamy summer sky at sunset. Whether you are fortunate enough to share your meals with family or with friends, turn your garden into an outside dining area. Learn to live in harmony with nature. Let the birds’ songs be your orchestra as the mountain air or ocean breeze create a peaceful atmosphere.
Change Your Outlook
Try to look upon your surroundings as if you’d never seen them before. What we call home is often a place where travellers dream of visiting in their lifetime. It’s easy to take things for granted but while some are native to coastal cities, others spend a lifetime without getting so much as a glimpse at the ocean. While mountain hikes may be your standard weekend activity, some people that live in the desert have never walked in a forest. Whether you’re stuck someplace snowy or rainy, embrace the beauty of the diversity of seasons.