I just finished with John Francis’ “Planet Walker: 17 years of silence. 22 years of walking.” Taking a vow to not use motorized vehicles, Francis was motivated by the San Francisco Bay oil spill (1971). Shortly thereafter, he took a vow of silence that he maintained for 17 years. “Planet Walker” is Francis’ journal and drawings that he kept during his sojourn across the U.S. Despite the vow of silence, Francis earned university degrees, taught courses at colleges and universities; and despite walking as his primary means of transportation, he has traveled from coast to coast, even to central and south America.
“What had started as a way to escape arguing, and continued perhaps as an experiment in communication, has grown into something deeper. It has brought me to the edge of silence, and through its practice into a landscape of spirituality, communion, and contemplation.” pg. 108 “Planet Walker.”
John Francis journey begins in the San Francisco Bay Area. The book is a geography course, describing the valleys, hills, forests, lakes and streams of North America’s Northwest coast, the deserts of Utah and Nevada, the plains of the Dakotas. It is also a brief history of the environmental movement of the 70’s and 80’s, the time of the nuclear accident at Pennsylvania’s 3 Mile Island, protests against nuclear tests performed in Nevada’s desert from 1945-1992.
Francis is walking the earth during the disarmament movement and introduces readers to some of the key activists in the movement. Readers are introduced to INEL, the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the birthplace of the nuclear navy. His almost daily reflections on the land and his blossoming relationship with it is a non-traditional and inspiring method for exploring earth stewardship. This is not a book that confirms to the traditional book review format. It is a personal and, at times, intimate narrative about what it means to live on this planet.
Today, Francis, who was born in North Philadelphia’s Nicetown, serves on the faculty at the University of Madison-Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
More on Becoming Earth Stewards
“How Wolves Change Rivers,” Sustainable Man:
“Caribbean Island are Choked by plastic bottles, bags and rubbish,” BBC Video:
The following article is also referenced in “The Call, Rap & Realtalk.” But it has just as much to do with the environment and contemplating our role as stewards of the planet as it does with the work place and American employees: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-15-worst-companies-for-the-environment-2009-9/15-archer-daniels-midland-1
And from my favorite radical environmentalist and critic of mainstream environmentalism Derrick Jensen, “The Principle Distinction Is Whether They Do Anything”: