SNEWS® Live: "Planet Walker" John Francis shares his story of a silent crusade to protect the environment

After a 17-year vow of silence, "Planet Walker" Dr. John Francis discusses his views on environmental protection with SNEWS® Live.
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This edition of SNEWS® Live is brought to you by The North Face

SNEWS® Live: In 1971, John Francis witnessed a catastrophic oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The greasy black sludge that coated resident sea life and stained nearby beaches left an indelible impression on him as well. As a young man at the dawn of the environmental movement, he felt compelled to act. But what could one person do to change a society bent on its own destruction?

Left with little to do that would make a difference in the world, Francis did what he could by abandoning all forms of motorized transport and walking exclusively. Still hoping to make an even deeper impact on his community and himself, Francis took his devotion a step further and swore a vow of silence. For 17 years, he did not utter a word. And yet, he still managed to earn college and graduate degrees in science and environmental studies.

Francis went on to become the United Nation's goodwill ambassador to the world's grassroots communities. And the U.S. government hired him to help establish policies for the management of oil spills.

At the Conservation Alliance's biannual breakfast meeting, held during Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Francis was the keynote speaker. Before his presentation, SNEWS® Live met with him to hear the story behind this man who walks his talk.