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Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence.by John Francis
Planetwalker is one of the most powerfully eloquent testimonials to the human spirit that I've ever read. John Francis's sacrifices turn out to be anything but, and his story is incandescent with beauty and wisdom. Writing with humility and courage about the power of conviction and community is one thing; proving it through a life of action and then writing so honestly and lucidly about it is something else entirely. I first read Planetwalker a year ago, and it continues to resonate, inspire, and subtly guide me as I walk through a life more complicated than it need be.
Synopses & Reviews
When the struggle to save oil-soaked birds and restore blackened beaches left him feeling frustrated and helpless, John Francis decided to take a more fundamental and personal stand—he stopped using all forms of motorized transportation. Soon after embarking on this quest that would span two decades and two continents, he took a vow of silence that endured for 17 years. It began as a silent environmental protest, but as a young African-American man, walking across the country in the early 1970s, his idea of "the environment" expanded beyond concern about pollution and loss of habitat to include how we humans treat each other and how we can better communicate and work together to benefit the earth.
Through his silence and walking, he learned to listen, and along the way, earned college and graduate degrees in science and environmental studies. An amazing human-interest story with a vital message, Planetwalker is also an engaging coming-of-age pilgrimage.
Book News Annotation:
Francis' journey began in 1971 when after witnessing an oil spill in San Francisco bay he gave up using motorized transport, and tired of arguing with his friends about whether he was making a difference or not, he gave up speaking. In 1983, in an effort to raise environmental awareness, he set off on foot and in silence across the US and continued to walk for the next 22 years, earning undergraduate and Masters degrees in science and environmental studies and a Ph.D. in land resources along the way. Here he presents the story of his pilgrimage which covered ground from the Pacific to Atlantic coasts, the South American continent from tip to tip, Cuba, and both Alaska and Antarctica. His pen and ink sketches illustrate the margins of practically every page. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
John Francis, Ph.D., is the founder and director of PlanetWalk, a nonprofit environmental education organization. He travels around the world speaking on pilgrimage and change, and on Planetlines, an environmental studies curriculum based on the walking pilgrimage.
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