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John Francis

About John

John Francis’ environmental work began in 1971, when he witnessed a tanker collision and oil spill in San Francisco Bay. It was then that he gave up the use of motorized vehicles and began to walk.

Several months later, on his 27th birthday, fed up with the arguments his decision to walk seemed to create with friends, John took a vow of silence lasting for 17 years.

During that time, he founded Planetwalk a non-profit environmental awareness organization, received a B.S. degree from Southern Oregon State College, a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana-Missoula, and a PhD in Land Resources from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ending his silence, John served as project manager for the United States Coast Guard Oil Pollution Act Staff of 1990, in Washington, DC, where he assisted in writing oil spill regulations. For this work, he received the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Public Service Commendation.

Over the years, John Francis has walked across the US, walked and sailed through the Caribbean, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. He recently began a walk studying organic agriculture and sustainable development in Cuba, and is developing Planetlines, an environmental education curriculum based on the walking pilgrimage for high school, college and civic organizations.