Why we need to Walk Between the Worlds


These days seem highly charged with plenty of folks labeling themselves and each other alt-right, leftist liberal, sexist, misogynist, LGBTQ+ and plenty of other descriptors while trying to convince each other who is right and who is wrong.

You are this and I am that.  So therefore you are wrong and I am right.

While if-then statements work well for computer programming they don’t work so well for understanding the complexities of human beings or human behavior.

You are either with us or against us didn’t work out so well. It never has and it never will because it’s infinitely and inherently more complicated than that.

It is never black and white.  It’s always grey.

Reducing humans to a singular label and dismissing them will not move us forward.  We are individually and collectively much more intricate than that.

To label is to limit.

If we reduce someone with a simplistic label and pretend that it is the totality of who they are it reduces them to an easily manageable quantity and denigrates their humanity.  It makes it much easier to hate them and dismiss them instead of seeing them as people we can relate to and find our universal commonalities with.

As my good friend K. Keith Gravitt just recently and eloquently said, “Everyone and everything seem so polarized right now. Whenever we take the totality of one’s thoughts, feelings, and life experiences and dismissively reduce them down to a single adjective like redneck, libtard or Bible-thumper we limit the possibility of learning something, growing as a person, and maybe, just maybe, finding out that we have more in common than we differ..

To understand someone takes time.  Labels make it quick and efficient.

To recognize bits of yourself in the other is difficult.  Labeling and dismissing as different is easy.

People are contradictory and messy. Labels are neat and tidy.

Labeling also has the side benefit of stroking our ego.  Thank god I am not like that!  I am like this! Whew!

It’s incredibly frightening and an arduous task to stand alone.  It’s much easier to stand with others we believe wear our same labels.

Now more than ever it seems we need to take time to understand each other and drop the simplistic labels.

We need to open up to the other 7 billion souls we got schlepping around on this planet because we each carry a unique perspective and unique experiences.

In other words we need to learn to Walk Between the Worlds.

Here is why.

To the best of my reckoning I figure we all have a common human experience and therefore a bond with each other in a very deep and meaningful sense. What separates us are superficial differences in appearance, beliefs and behavior but at the core we are all the same and share a common human experience of being alive on this planet.

If we look beyond the cracker thin veneer of those differences we discover that we are all fundamentally similar with the same basic needs, fears, wants and desires. What separates us from each other is our limited perception of who we are and our failure to see ourselves reflected in each other. (Excerpt from Young Homeless Professional)

So here is my challenge to you.  

Download this excerpt Walk Between The Worlds.  Share this post with others.

Discuss it with your family, community, students and strangers.

Let me know what you learn.

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SPOTLIGHT on Kelab Alami!

Kelab Alami is one of the community groups we are supporting with Buy A Book, Support A Village!  

For more information… read on!



Founded by Shalan Jum’at and Serina Rahman, Kelab Alami evolved from a youth environmental education programme to a community capacity-building effort that works to enable the community of Mukim Tanjungg Kupang Johor to participate in and benefit from the development around them.




arip-in-bakauKelab Alami now hires its former Youth Rangers to work on its many programmes: youth entrepreneurship, community skills development for employment, habitat monitoring and documentation, environmental education, ecotourism and the Kelab Alami Football Club initiative to help at-risk youth.


It tries to find ways for the wider community to earn supplementary or alternative incomes as traditional fishing livelihoods are on the decline. The Kelab Alami Nature & Heritage Centre will be set up as a tribute to local habitats and fishing heritage and will be the nexus from which the community can earn future income.


Kelab Alami is advised by a network of scientists, nature experts and nature educators and many other invaluable supporters and sponsors. Kelab Alami was awarded the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Award for Environmental Protection in 2016 and is in the process of setting up Koperasi Alami Johor Berhad; a registered cooperative for the local community. Contributions to the cause will go towards the Nature & Heritage Centre and an education fund to enable the Youth Rangers to continue studying or gain credible certification.













Help Earth Matters support Kelab Alami!

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EARCOS Teachers’ Conference 2017!



I’m very excited to be involved in the EARCOS Teachers’ Conference March 30 – April 1, 2017!


This year I’ll be offering quite a few options for those interested in Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC), Risk & Safety, planning & implementing expeditions & integrating science and other curricular areas for learning outside the classroom & successful service projects!


Borneo Adventures! (March 26 – 28) A Pre-Conference Trip complete with rainforest ecology, wildlife & jungle survival skills!

A perfect trip for intrepid teachers that want to learn more about Education Outside The Classroom and potential learning adventure for their students & families!

Best of Borneo (April 2-5) Post-Conference Trip with the rare opportunity to spot marbled cats,clouded leopards, sun bears, Asian elephants,hornbills, Borneo bristle head, pittas and proboscis monkeys!


This hands-on outdoor workshop will integrate science, literature, art, service learning & other curricular areas with Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) techniques.


Adventure Learning: Basics of Program Design

Whether your school does service projects, week without walls, cultural immersion or adventure programs you’ll need to know a few basics to get started or improve your current program. This workshop will cover program design, logistics, desired learning outcomes & experiences for students during Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) expeditions.

Adventure Learning: Basics of Risk, Safety & Standard Operating Procedures

Whether your school does service projects, week without walls, cultural immersion or adventure programs you’ll need to know a few basics to get started or improve your current program. During this workshop we will cover risk & safety, risk assessments, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and choosing and working with third party providers to ensure a safe and rewarding Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) expedition for your students.

Making Service Learning Happen- A practical approach

Do you or your students engage in service projects or service learning? Learn how to jumpstart your projects and engage your students for maximum benefit and the greatest impact on student learning,. Using Rockin’ 4 the Environment, GREEN Riders, GREEN Paddlers and Buy A Book, Support A Village as examples this workshop will explore the process of how to make your service projects come alive with project design, sponsorship, media, promotions and ensuring a successful project!



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SPOTLIGHT on EcoKnights!



Founded by Yasmin Rasyid and Mariam Osman, EcoKnights started its journey as a small collective offering urban community’s assistance in developing their own environmental initiatives.



Fast forward to 11 years later, EcoKnights is now a non-profit NGO, spearheading Malaysia’s environmental movement, serving the community through development-led interventions from education and awareness programs to research; and public participation programs to consultation.

With a team of dedicated staff and energetic interns from different kinds of backgrounds, EcoKnights’ mission is to inspire sustainable living among Malaysians through:

  1. Providing platforms where activities on sustainability can be shared with the masses;
  2. Youth development programmes;
  3. Publication and documentation of environment-related materials;
  4. Capacity building in areas of community engagement and environmental education; and
  5. Smart partnerships with corporate and government agencies in developing effective engagement programmes on sustainability with the general public.

It is a norm to have the bunch being occupied with their annual major programmes – Green Awards Malaysia (or better known as Anugerah Hijau Malaysia), Knights of Nature (KON) Sustainability Camp and Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival (KLEFF); besides partnership programmes and participating in community workshops, exhibitions, forums and press conferences.

anugerah-hijau-winnersAnugerah Hijau Malaysia



Anugerah Hijau Malaysia is one of the best environmental programmes in the country as it engages youth from high schools to university to address local environmental problems.


With different categories such as Green Music, Green Fashion, Green Space, Green Innovation and Green School, this contest allows the participants to experience an enriching green journey as they learn more than just theories through Anugerah Hijau workshop and the process to come up with finished products.

Knights of Nature (KON) Sustainability Camp



knights-of-natureKnights of Nature (KON) Sustainability Camp is an inspiring and action packed camp specially designed for youths with passionate hearts for Mother Nature.

It is not only an exclusive learning experience with our current elite Knights but also an opportunity to build close friendship and have some crazy amount of fun!


The curriculum for “Knights of Nature Sustainability Camp” has been developed with a vision of delivering a 3 days 2 nights camp for youths between the ages of 15 and 23. The goal of the camp is to increase youth knowledge and awareness about the global ecological crisis, with the hope that this increased awareness will help moderate the behavior of future generations and inspire political action for positive environmental and social change.

With fun and challenging outdoor activities such as hands-on field explorations related to energy, sustainable agriculture and green architecture; amazing workshops with industrial experts in sustainability; and recreational opportunities throughout beautiful Hulu Langat upper stream ecosystem, the KON participants not only be able to promote sustainable actions in life but also develop positives qualities like teamwork, leadership, time management and problem solving skills.

Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival (KLEFF)



kleff-2The KL Eco Film Festival (KLEFF) is a home grown not-for-profit festival with a focus on environmental issues. In the last 9 years, the team has been consistently engaging the Malaysian public on latest issues and solutions pertaining to the environment, with the hope that the festival can help raise the level of eco consciousness of the nation, and thus, serves as a stimulus for the public to demand for more sustainable changes in the country.

Since its inception, KLEFF has received over 900 films from all around the world including our fellow Malaysians, of which over 430 were showcased at over 100 venues and covered vast aspects of the environment issues. Not forgetting to mention the support the team has been getting throughout the years from more than 100 talented musicians and cultural performances, 40 community talks and workshops from inspiring figures, and reaches out to 70,000 beneficiaries (and still counting!).


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Best of Borneo ETC Post-Conference Trip!


April 2 – 5 (4 days – 3 nights)

Post-Conference Trip to Lupa Masa Jungle Camp and Deramakot Forestry Area

Cost per person – US$325.00

* Please note: this trip is available for teachers (and their families), workshop presenters & speakers attending the EARCOS Teachers’ Conference in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah March 30 – April 1, 2017

Limited spots available.  

Sign ups on a first come first served basis.  Make sure to save your spot now!


Download itinerary and suggested packing list here

To sign up or further inquiries, contact Kenny: earthmattersinfo@gmail.com

The Best of Borneo Wildlife will take us deep into the centre of Sabah in search of endemic and rare wildlife in Deramakot Forestry Reserve,South East Asia’s first pioneer reduced impact logging reserve.


14409832_10205960744857952_5102470182694402463_oWe will have an opportunity to meet Sabah Forestry Department Experts for a presentation on their efforts to introduce sustainable logging to ensure long term biodiversity and best practices for conservation.

Over the last two years Deramakot has proven to be a remarkable area for spotting marbled cats, clouded leopards, sun bears, Asian elephants, hornbills, Borneo bristle head, pittas and proboscis monkeys!

During our walks and evening 4 x 4 driving safaris we will learn the ecology of Southeast Asia as well as current conservation issues and solutions for sustainability in the region.

Accommodation is in simple air conditioned chalets.

For itinerary, prices, equipment list or further inquiries please contact Kenny:  earthmattersinfo@gmail.com

















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