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.
TAKE PLASTIC FREE JULY TO
THE NEXT LEVEL
We hope you joined us and the other 120 million people in celebrating Plastic Free July! Since August came rolling, we want to inspire you to strive for a plastic free lifestyle all year long
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Anna Tukhfatullina, Goran Ivos, Ignacio F.
14 August 2019
How did your Plastic Free July go? We want to know all about your progress! This year around 120 million people joined the initiative to keep our planet safer and greener, and our team couldn’t be happier to see the results.
Plastic Free July started back in 2011 and the hard work of the organisers has since paid a hundred times over. The inspiring Australian campaign encourages people to become part of the solution to the plastic crisis by transforming their day-to-day habits for an eco-friendly lifestyle. The movement spread beyond the Australian continent. People all over the world participated in Plastic Free July by avoiding single-used plastics and finding alternatives to items they use and purchase daily.
Participants from over 177 countries took part in the challenge to try and leave fewer plastic footprints. The campaign’s official website gives ideas and insights about what you can do as an individual to reduce your plastic use. To make a significant positive difference you can do as little as change your dental products to bamboo toothbrushes, choose paper instead or plastic straws and bring your own keep cup at your local coffee shop.
The changes don’t need to be massive to make a huge impact. In fact, the movement started by encouraging people to pay attention to the little things they do, so long as more people begin to think twice over their plastic use and consider finding alternatives to it.
We think that Plastic Free July can contribute to a safer future for everyone on the planet, if people could change their plastic consumption habits across a period longer than a month. More and more consumers seem to consider the impact plastic has on the environment. Emerging movements, such as Extinction Rebellion, aim to end the climate crisis and protect biodiversity. In recent years they drew global attention to how plastic is directly intertwined with the future of our planet, specifically with that of the younger generations of people.
It will unlikely be an exaggeration to say that today everyone is informed that plastic is a material that takes an alarmingly long amount of time to decompose – about 1 000 years to be exact. This means that most, if not all, plastic that has ever been manufactured still exists on earth and the process of its decomposing is nowhere near finished.
The people behind the Plastic Free July campaign are aware that even though we cannot liquidate all traces of existing plastic altogether, we are still capable of making a change. Over 120 million people are seeking resolutions to this man-made problem, helping with every little act they can. If we all contribute with small acts of sustainability and urge big corporations to embrace plastic-free policies, we could reverse the crisis facing the planet we all call home.
At ORIGIN Magazine we urge our readers to try and live a Plastic Free July every month of the year. We want to support this game-changing campaign and we wish to inspire people to help bring the plastic-free lifestyle to the next level. The only question is, are you in?
Here are some ideas of small acts of sustainability that can make your lifestyle less plastic and far more fantastic!
Shop from local markets to get veggies and fruits that haven’t been pre-wrapped in plastic
Bring your own keep cup to your favourite coffee shop and cut your disposable cups waste
Buy less to make sure you only spend money on what you actually need
Get involved in the “zero waste” movement by reusing as many plastic items as you can
Switch to glass containers at home, instead of using plastic
Don’t use straws if you don’t really need them or simply ask for a paper one – a lot of coffee shops, bars and small restaurants have already replaced plastic with paper
Bamboo and wooden toothbrushes are so much cooler than the regular plastic ones
Bring your own tote bags when doing your shopping
Use the glass alternative to the cartons that store milk and juice at the supermarkets as they are incredibly difficult to recycle due to the various types of materials used to produce them
Invest in getting your own refillable water bottle instead of buying single-used water bottles
Be aware of how you recycle your plastic waste
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your #plasticfreejourney. We would love to hear about your progress and encourage you to keep going. Let’s live a plastic free life as much as we can master all year long.