John Francis

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Decades ago, in response to an oil spill off the coast of California, John Francis made a vow to give up riding in motor vehicles, and stepped out on a walk. And he kept on walking for the next 22 years. Wherever he went, he carried a message of respect for the Earth — silently for 17 of those years. We get to know this man who has raised awareness and changed minds globally, a man who, no surprise here, chooses his words carefully — a man who has dedicated his life to saving the planet one step at a time.

John Francis has his own way of doing things. And his methods — not uttering a sound, for instance — make for powerful communication. Host Majora Carter takes us along as she spends a whole day walking with John Francis in his hometown, Cape May, New Jersey, a beach community at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. They start walking at the Atlantic Ocean and walk through neighborhoods, along railroad tracks, and in a nature preserve, talking about John's journey. Today, his Planetwalk foundation consults on sustainable development and works with educational groups to teach kids about the environment. As he wrote in his 2005 book, ‪Planetwalker‬: “If 20 years ago … someone had told me, ‘John, if you want to make a difference, I want you to stop driving in cars and start walking east, and you’ll make a difference,’ and as I turned and walked away they shouted, ‘and shut up too!’ I would not have believed them. But as I sit here I realize that is exactly what has happened.”


John Francis' book on his silent trek around the world.