John Francis is an American environmentalist nicknamed the planetwalker. Born in Philadelphia, the son of a West Indian immigrant, he moved to Marin County, California as a young man. After witnessing the devastation caused by the 1971 San Francisco Bay oil spill, he stopped riding in motorized vehicles, a vow which lasted 22 years from 1972 until 1994. From 1973 until 1990, he also spent 17 years voluntarily silent. During this time he earned a Ph.D. in land management and traveled extensively, walking across the entire width of the lower 48 states of the USA as well as walking to South America.
|I began observing, making paintings of my surroundings, taking a vow of silence, listening, composing music, writing, and making time for formal education. Then I started telling stories.||Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Time ;Music, Chants & Rapps|
|I say I am a Planetwalker. Then I have to explain that a Planetwalker is anyone who walks the planet as a lifestyle choice, as part of an education in the spirit and hope of using the journey to benefit the world.||Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Hope|
|Ultimately when I gave up the use of motorized vehicles, I walked everywhere, from town to town, across states and two continents. When I stopped talking, I mean literally I stopped speaking. I took a complete vow of silence.|