Mount Mercy to host author and environmentalist Dr. John Francis

Mount Mercy College will host author and environmentalist Dr. John Francis, also known as the “Planetwalker,” for a Connections talk on Monday April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy, Busse Center. The presentation, titled "Redefining Environment" is free and open to the public.

In 1971, a massive oil spill in the San Francisco Bay area opened Francis’ eyes to the lack of care for the environment occurring around him. A year later, he decided to do something about it. Instead of joining a committee or protesting, Francis made a bigger statement: to stop using motorized vehicles and instead, to walk everywhere he went. A few months later, he decided to stop speaking as well.

Francis went without use of motorized vehicles for 22 years, walking along the Pacific Northwest, coast to coast of the United States and even to South America. He was silent for 17 of those years. During this time, he earned his Ph.D. in land resources. He was later of service to the United Nations Environment Program as a goodwill ambassador. The novel Planetwalker documents Francis’ incredible journey. To learn more about Francis and his book, visit

The Connections talk with Dr. John Francis is sponsored by Mount Mercy College, Mount Mercy Cultural Affairs, President Christopher Blake, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John P. Marsden, Mount Mercy’s Honor’s Program, the Linn County Connections organization, and the United Nations Association of the United Nations US. 

Mount Mercy offers numerous Happenings on the Hill cultural affairs events each year, including plays, lectures, forums, and exhibits, which are free and open to the community. Series such as the Race and Gender Speaker Series and the Barbara Knapp Speaker Series offer resources on business-related topics of interest and perspectives on the global and local issues of race, gender, minorities, and cultural differences.

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