MEDIA: Planetwalker by John Francis

Story by Ariela Rose

When you walk the walk like John Francis, you don’t necessarily need to talk the talk. Planetwalker: 17 Years of Silence, 22 Years of Walking is the true story of a native Philadelphian who, after witnessing a devastating 1971 California oil spill, chose to abstain from all motorized transportation. Instead, Francis walked. When his walking led to arguments with those who did not understand his beliefs, he gave up using his voice, as well.

Francis’ account is compiled from a journal he kept as he traversed America for more than 22 years, 17 of which he says he was completely silent. His unwavering dedication to environmental justice is astounding, and he remains committed even when his family questions his sanity, his feet burn and ache, and misunderstanding strangers hold him at gunpoint.

Although it seems impossible to persuade others to respect the natural world without the use of one’s voice, those who encounter Francis are moved by his radical actions and forced to think about their own interactions with the planet.

Planetwalker may or may not inspire you to close your mouth and hit the pavement, but it will remind you that everyday actions serve as an example for others.