John Francis

Environmentalist and Planetwalker

Would you stop using cars and even go silent for a decade or two for your convictions? John Francis̶the man they call the Planetwalker̶did both after seeing the environmental devastation the 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill caused. But John never stopped communicating, listening or moving. In fact, he trekked across the U.S., from Venezuela to Argentina, and sailed and walked through the Caribbean. The author of Planetwalker: How to Change Your World One Step at a Time also earned three degrees, including a doctorate in land resources. And now the Philadelphia-born son of a West Indian immigrant wants to redefine the environmental movement. He and his Planet Walk organization are developing Planetlines, a place-based curriculum that combines listening and walking as vehicles of exploration with Google and mobile technologies to gather qualitative and quantitative data about the Earth. One of two recipients of the 2012 McDowell Alumni Achievement Award, John is also a former goodwill ambassador for the UN Environment Program.

The Power of Walking and Silence