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.
HAVE AN ECO-CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR
Christmas is just around the corner and we’ve got some ideas about how you can celebrate this beautiful day by being more mindful of your actions. From food wastage to alternative decorations and tips about your holiday habits, here is what you can do to have an eco-Christmas this year
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Annie Spratt
10 December 2019
The 25th of December is a unique day – one that thousands of people around the world spend with their family and closest friends. It is a special occasion and as such most of us dedicate a lot of thought and time into planning it. Each year a massive amount of resources is wasted on the preparation for Christmas. This got us thinking about the meaning of the celebration – it is all about spreading love and kindness, giving and caring about one another.
This year our team decided to look into ways to celebrate this day in a more conscious way. We’ve got some tips and ideas for you about how you can change your habits just a tiny bit and get into the spirit of Christmas the right way.
USE SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
It is easy to go into a shop and find a set of festive decorations that will fit the style of your home and complete your Christmas tree. There are many companies nowadays that create Christmas charms from eco materials such as wood, glass and brass. You can always make your own ornaments as well from berries, and biscuits threaded with red ribbons for a festive feel. Candles are also popular December purchase. Try to avoid the ones with paraffin and choose those that are based on soy or for example beeswax.
PICK LED LIGHTS
Christmas is all about the lights. They are everywhere – wrapped around the Christmas tree, used to decorate each room, even styled around terrace railings. They are a great way to acknowledge the holiday spirit, however they are very wasteful as well. We recommend switching to LED lights this year as they are gentler to the environment and use over 80% less energy, Think only about the 12 days of Christmas – LED lights can reduce 29,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions within this time frame if every UK household uses them instead of string lights.
RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE
So far, we’ve suggested things about your Christmas tree decoration, but what about the three itself? You can easily recycle it by donating it to your local council if they have a Christmas tree recycling service or simply replant it if you’ve got a potted one. There are plenty of ways you can give new life to it by using it in different ways, such as help the wildlife or use it as compost.
THINK ABOUT THE WRAPPING PAPER
Recycled wrapping paper, or brown paper, are the obvious ones to use. You can add some nice ribbons or simple threads. They look cool, unique and minimalistic, which is the best way to wrap a present anyways. Foil and glitter are not recyclable so if you could avoid buying paper that contains those elements. Think about the things you can reuse again, such as ribbons and bags instead of throwing them away on the spot.
There are some cards that have been produced by ethically sourced paper. Watch out for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark. This will vouch for the authenticity of the sustainability of the paper. Seed packet cards are also on the rise. They allow the person who gets the card to sow it in the springtime.
Christmas is all about kindness, so it is the best time of the year to think locally. Support small independent businesses by buying your food from them. This way you will not only cut on cost for delivery and often food packaging, but you will also show some love to small-scale ethical businesses. Get your food fresh from the right place.
MINIMALISE YOUR FOOD WASTAGE
Our advice is to try and think what you will need beforehand. Buy less to avoid wastage. You can get very creative with the leftovers by making something new from them. If you do end up with food that will be wasted, you can donate it in the Christmas spirit. There re apps such as Olio, which give you the opportunity to lest all the food you have as leftover. You will be able to see people in your local area that are in need of food and share yours with them.
GIVING IS THE BEST PRESENT
It is a common saying that Christmas is about giving, not receiving. This is a little odd saying to follow in most societies as people are used to and expect to receive a present form their loved ones. While this is great and we support this way to spread joy, our team would like to urge you to use this year as an opportunity to give more and want nothing in return. Think about clothes and shoes you don’t wear anymore, homeware that you don’t need. There is probably someone out there, who can make a good use of the things you don’t really need. Think about donating to local charity shops or places, such as orphanages where this kind gesture will mean everything to those in need.
From the NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine’s family to yours – we wish you a Merry Christmas! We would love to hear about how you spent Christmas this year celebrating in an eco-friendly way. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what Christmas means to you and what you did to celebrate this year.