John Francis

Planet Walker (EL, Com, Mod, Lec, Tch)

Dr. John Francis is an environmental educator and former United Nations Environment Program goodwill ambassador to the world’s grassroots communities. His work began 1971, when he witnessed an oil spill in San Francisco Bay, and stopped using motorized vehicles and began to walk. Several months later, to learn to better listen, John took a vow of silence lasting 17 years.


During that time, he founded Planetwalk a non-profit environmental awareness organization, walking back across the US from California to his home in West Cape May, receiving three degrees, including a PhD in Land Resources and Environmental Studies, as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Community Service. He ended his silence on Earth Day 1990, telling the assembled crowd, “Environment is about how we treat each other.” He served as project manager for the United States Coast Guard Oil Pollution Act of 1990 Staff, and authored Planetwalker: 17-Years of Silence, 22-Years of Walking, as well as The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World, both published by the National Geographic Society.