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Home » The Power of Walking and Silence: John Francis (Full Transcript)

The Power of Walking and Silence: John Francis (Full Transcript)

Full text of environmentalist John Francis’s talk: The Power of Walking and Silence at TEDxTokyo conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


John Francis – Environmentalist and Planetwalker


Well, I begin with music, because music is… playing music is one of those activities, a human activity and it’s also an art form that uses sound in silence.

It’s also a theory that music is, well a kind of part of communication that delivers something important about the speaker and the speech.

So we’ll see if that’s true.

But what I’d like to share with you this afternoon is an experience of walking and silence.

When I was a young man, I really wanted to be a monk, maybe not the spirituality part of it, but the physicality of it. I mean I went to a monastery, and I really liked the robes.

I mean, I really liked the robes. But when I learned that the monks didn’t speak, I said, oh wait, wait a minute, oh no, that’s not for me. And so that dream that I had of being a monk just kind of withered by the wayside.

Now it was kind of a shock to me that 20 years later I found myself walking across the United States and having taken a vow of silence. So that was a big shock.

And now this is me back in those days in 1973, and kind of not monk robes but planetwalker robes. They did just as well.

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