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tv   Sino Tv Early Evening News  PBS  December 17, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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hello, and welcome to the "journal" on dw-tv. the top stories, at the end of the summit in brussels, eu leaders say the will do everything possible to save the euro. many flights are grounded as severe snowfall causes traffic disruptions. and german business sentiment has reached a high in december. european leaders were upbeat at the end of their two day summit in brussels, which aimed at providing long-term stability
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for the euro. they have agreed to set up a rescue fund for the eurozone as of 2013. despite division on issues, german chancellor angela merkel said the eu had made an import decision for the future of the euro. >> the german chancellor and other european leaders overcame most differences. and have agreed to set up a permanent emergency rescue fund to take effect in mid 2013. the 27 members were more -- will more closely coordinate their economic policies, the basic agreement, but there are no details yet. >> i cannot offer any definite points today. this applies to all political areas. we're looking to see if there is a good amount of common ground and where we still have work to do. >> the summit was meant to calm things after summer in which the
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euro was threatened. but it is not clear how long the agreements will stabilize the european currency. there were negative signals from the market. moody's once again once again downgraded ireland's credit rating. >> what we're looking at is the real economy in ireland and how it is doing. >> some were hoping for more substantive progress. bu>> this would win additional liquidity for europe and that could easily lead to lower interest rates, even lower than they are in germany. >> but berlin remains opposed to the euro bond solution. e.u. leaders have a great candidate status to the country
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of montenegro.an official repord last month says of montenegro will need to bring its justice system in line with european standards and that insufficient protection for freedom of speech and the press, and widespread corruption is also a problem there. th north korea has threatened to strike back against the south if they go ahead with a military firing drill on their island. north korean state television said retaliation would be deadlier than the previous attack on the island last month. the south said it will go ahead with their drill in the next few days. in november, for south koreans were killed when the north shelled the island. japan says it is radically changing its defense strategy in response to what it views as north korean aggression as well as the military rise of china. the government has approved
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plans to move its military focus from the north to the south of japan and will expand its submarine fleet and upgrade its fighter jets. beijing has condemned the plans as irresponsible. china says they pose no threat to any nation. old man winter is not letting up, heavy snow and ice conditions causing major disruptions across the continent. transportation has been severely affected in every sector. hundreds of flights have been delayed or canceled at major airports, including frankfurt, which is one of europe's busiest. >> at frankfurt international airport, snow removal crews have been out in force, clearing the runways and de-icing airplanes. still, more than 300 flights were canceled friday. heavy snowfall is causing chaos for travelers across europe. >> are flight last night to
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amsterdam was canceled. we stood in line for a couple hours and then we came at 5:00 this morning and stood in line for an hour and a half and just gave us our boarding passes. then they said that flight has been canceled. >> conditions on germany's autobahn remains treacherous. drivers have been left sitting in a long traffic jams. with fuel trucks not getting through, gas stations are in short supply. germany and other countries are facing road salt shortages and major roads can be slippery. across europe, there have been scores of accidents like this one in sweden. a second cold snap of the season has blanketed britain and heavy snow. temperatures have plummeted to - 15 degrees celsius. demand for heating oil is up and the government has warned the situation could become more serious. millions face fuel rationing over christmas. but for children all over europe, the snow spelled good
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news. in many places, school was canceled. >> one man says his organization faces an aggressive and secretive investigation by u.s. authorities. he said he believes the u.s. justice department will try to have him extradited on charges of espionage. his website has drawn anger from politicians around the world with its release of thousands of secret american diplomatic cables. the wikileaks founder has been released from a british jail and is fighting extradition to sweden. authorities want to question him over allegations of sexual assault, charges which he denies. with the things going wrong elsewhere, germany continues to get it right. europe's sovereign debt worries have failed to dent the german economic recovery. the business climate index is ending the year at a fresh record high. the 7000 companies participating in the monthly survey are more
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optimistic about their current business situation and their outlook for the next six months. retailers in particular have given an upbeat assessment of their current situation. the surveys out, beat expectations despite ongoing debt worries in some eurozone countries. earlier, we spoke with the president and asked if the increasing number of eurozone countries imposing austerity measures could hurt germany's export business. >> this is certainly true. the austerity measures mean that these countries have scaled down their economy and imports less from germany. on the other hand, there is a reason why they have scaled down, that they don't get loans anymore. of the capital export from germany into these countries is
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lower, and capital is being offered at home. banks do not dare to go abroad anymore because of the risk involved, and so the credit climate in germany has improved and we get a lot of internal german investment. this is the dominant fact of the fact that the money is no longer infested in spain and portugal -- is no longer interested in spain and portugal. it is not a net disadvantage to germany. on the markets, the strong reading failed to lift german markets friday as investors sentiment was down by the eurozone by -- by the eurozone debt worries. >> the german economy still outpaced the rest of europe. the business climate shows that the upswing will continue also in the first half of next year.
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the companies in germany will be able to raise their profits. on the other hand, investors worried about the downgrade by the rating agency moody's. this could mean that moody's and other rating agencies may downgrade other countries like spain, greece, or portugal. this brought down the mood on the frankfurt floor. the dax was under 7000 points at the end of the week. >> a closer look at the market numbers, the the dax finished the week lower. the euro stoxx 50 index fell as well, going into the weekend at 2821. in new york, the dow jones also trading lower, pretty much flat lining. that is trading at 11,498
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points. the euro trading at $1.39 -- $1.3167. siemens is selling its stake in a weapon system maker. a 49% share in the company will be sold to a group makingt the sole owner of europe's biggest maker of armored vehicles. they make the leopard ii battle tanker. the company employs around 3400 people at plants in germany, the netherlands, greece, and the united states. just a week ago, seaman said were selling their computer services division. while many people in belgian chocolate santa claus, it is open season on chocolate rabbits. a european court of justice has ruled the rabbit is a generic shape for chocolate confections and may not be patented. that is a setback for a swiss chocolate maker, which had hoped to protect its famous gold foil
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wrapped chocolate bunnies from a german competitor. that means all german competitors will be able to market them with red ribbons also. kind of weird seeing those this time of year. international pressure is mounting on the ivory coast presidential candidate laurent gbagbo to give up its claim to the presidency. he lost to alassane quattara, but refuses to step down. king as prime minister says he should be removed by force if necessary -- kenya's prime minister says he should be removed by force if necessary. the u.s. has threatened sanctions. at the u.n. secretary general added his voice to the course, calling for gbagbo's resignation.
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>> the attempt by laurent gbagbo to retain power and flout the public will cannot be allowed to stand. i call on him to step down and allow his elected successor to assume a position without further hindrance. >> in brussels, french president nicolas sarkozy gave gbagbo to give up power -- gave gbagbo until the end of the week to give up power or face european union's sanctions. >> we have about 20 million people. 20 million people have chosen laurent gbagbo as their leader. why should we go? >> there are concerns that the political power struggle will escalate into renewed civil war.
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quattara supporters have threatened to continue to protest despite the gun battle that left 30 people dead. freedom to practice religion is a privilege often taken for granted. in more than 64 countries around the world, people are not allowed to freely express their beliefs. religious freedom and protection from persecution or top of the discussion at a debate today. church representatives from all over took part, including from iraq. there, life for christians can be dangerous. >> this is it is lucky to be alive. two months ago in iraq, 50 catholic church doors were killed by religious extremists. the bishop himself has also been the target of an attack. since then, he has been advised not to leave his home in baghdad. >> if i stay at home, if my
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people need me to go to them, how can i not go? always i move without security around me. >> the bishop is glad that german lawmakers are trying to do more to help victims of religious persecution. >> we don't want to protect a religion, we want to protect basic human right to freedom of religion. about most of iraq's christians have fled the country. the bishop thinks that fact has been a lot -- the bishop thinks that fact has been ignored for too long. >> we want facts to do for us, and especially the human rights. we don't ask anything else. we just want our rights. >> shortly after the debate, the bishop made his way back to iraq, where he hopes for a peaceful christmas in baghdad.
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a nasty fist fight amongst lawmakers and ukraine's parliament has resulted in a number of concussions, broken bones, and minor injuries. prosecutors have opened an investigation into the incident. the free-for-all broke out thursday evening after opposition mps blockaded themselves inside of the parliament chamber. the also hung banners reading stop political oppression. fights are relatively commonplace in ukrainian parliament, this one was seen as particularly violent. the president of fifa says he supports the idea of holding the 2022 world cup in january instead of june. the tournament will take place in the gulf state of qatar, and there had been concerns about the searing heat for fans and players. although they have promised fully air-conditioned stadiums. >> during the hottest part of the day, temperatures in this desert country can easily reach
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50 degrees celsius. it originally opposed holding the world cup and winter, but giving -- but given the conditions, they have changed their mind. and my support to play in winter here, to play when the climate is appropriate, and i am thinking about the footballers, not only the fans, but the footballers. >> average temperatures during the winter months are a balmy 23 degrees. when organizers originally were planning massive air conditioning systems to the future training systems and training grounds with the target system 23 degrees. the european and north american fans, the what the world cup will mean a cold road cut and many may choose to stay at home with a hot drink in hand. fan surveys show a majority want the 22 world cup -- the 2022
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world cup played out in summer when the weather is fine. we will be back after a short break. way. -- no go away.
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belarus is going to the polls this weekend. the country's authoritarian president is expected to win a fourth term. previous elections in the former soviet state are widely believed to have been raped, with him normally -- have been believed to have been rigged. on thursday, the russian prime minister vladimir putin made it light of the past differences, saying that ties between the countries are back on track. elsewhere, he remains a controversial figure. we take a closer look now at the man the u.s. once described it as europe's last dictator. >> this figure on ice is
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alexander the yushchenko. it is like key wants to be seen. he also likes to show his fighting spirit by appearing in uniform, often accompanied by his youngest son. but yushchenko called him dad. 80% of the population support their leader. >> we hold elections for ourselves, for our people, and for our state. the people decide everything. anybody who's views things objectively can recognize this. there is hardly a country where values are conforming. >> many believe his instincts are far from democratic. and 2004, he changed the constitution to allow himself to run for a third consecutive term in office. this power is also derived from the support he has from the police and secret services. his regime is known for his
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sometimes brutal treatment of people. more recently, he has begun courting the european union. he told the german foreign minister he no longer wanted to be labeled a dictator. his interest in the west has complicated relations with moscow. in the past, the kremlin was his closest ally. but he recently became the target of hostile campaign on russian television. after his moves to cut dependence on moscow anchored russia. -- angered russia. he was portrayed as being corrupt, but he seems unfazed by criticism. >> elections are always an issue for the osce, and for some people is an instrument they
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used to interfere in the end top -- interfere in the election process. >> he has agreed to create a free-trade zone with russia and kazakhstan that starting in 2012, while at the same time wooing the west with promises greater openness. this delicate balancing act may be to keep the country from collapsing and keep himself in power. security is extremely tight ahead of sunday's polls. police have been put on standby. he has warned against any protests and said he was prepared to take swift and vigorous action against demonstrators. he has also kept a firm grip on the media that has slammed the opposition as incompetent and dangerous. despite the intimidation, nine opposition candidates are taking part in the election. we met up with one of them and got this report. >> remote villages and winter landscapes.
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we have joined this opposition candidate who campaigns for the presidency. a former diplomat, he became active in politics a few years ago. now he is challenging the incumbent. >> the times are ripe for a change, for an end to dictatorship. i am running because i can tell that a lot of people support my candidacy. >> 7 8 kilometers north of the capital minsk, the supporters are welcoming the candidate. there is a decent crowd. he promises to give them more freedoms and to lead them into the european union. he pulls no punches in his criticism of the president. >> he has walked all over the constitution. he has abused the powers of office to enrich himself personally. we have an historic chance to bring freedom back to our
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beloved father land. >> that kind of rhetoric and land a person in jail. his supporters say they have been threatened and detained by the police, but the campaigning has been more free in the previous election four years ago and many voters are surprisingly candid. >> we're fed up with the president, his agenda, and his policies. >> i want have anything to do with the president since i realized what he is. >> in the capital minsk, the president's control of the country is more obvious. billboards and a un-critical media praise him. he is especially popular among low-income voters. many of the women selling fruits and vegetables at the city market say that the president watches out for their interests. and for law and order.
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>> if he stays in power, things will get better every year. the new president would need to learn the job. with the president, things run the way they should. our lives are pretty good, even for us retirees. he pays attention to us. >> meanwhile, hadn't internet broadcast, this man is preparing for a political debate. the writer who lives in exile is considered the strongest opposition candidate, but he says he has no illusions. he expects widespread fraud on election day. >> no one will count our votes. in the end, they will declare the president is the winner. his goal is 71%. it would be even higher if there
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was not criticism from europe. >> the government in minsk seems to be sensitive to european concerns, though changes slow. at discount rate, belarus' first private art gallery, we meet an exhibitor. it he says there is progress with the president relaxing state control in many areas. >> things are getting more relaxed in all areas of life, culture, politics, business. important changes are slowly taking place. it is the only way forward for belarus. >> not everyone agrees with that assessment. in central minsk, a few dozen students have gathered to demonstrate for the opposition candidate and against the president. uniformed and undercover police
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are keeping a close eye on the demonstration and tried repeatedly to break it up. but the students refused to be intimidated. >> i became active about half a year ago. as a result, i was dismissed by the university. i was in my fifth year. >> what has to happen so europe looks at what is going on and belarus? to the tanks have to come out and people get shot? >> the students hope that europe will refuse to recognize the election results. these young people say the vote will be neither free nor fair. they intend to come out again to demonstrate on election day, even though they know the state will do everything that it can to hinder them. >> upcoming elections in belarus, the focus of our in- depth today. thank you for joining us.
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captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--
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>> hinojosa: how far would you go to save the planet? my guest today didn't use motorized transportation of any kind for 22 years. and for 17 years, he didn't speak. planetwalk founder and environmental crusader john francis. i'm maria hinojosa. this is one on one. john francis, welcome to our program. >> thank you, maria. >> hinojosa: good to have you here. so you are the author of the book planetwalker: 17 years of silence, 22 years of walking. >> yes, i am. >> hinojosa: and so it really was. people, i'm sure they're like, "really? he stopped talking for 17 years?" >> right, i did, actually.
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>> hinojosa: and you walked for 22. >> for 22 years, without motorized vehicles, yeah. >> hinojosa: and throughout all of that, an essential part is your friend here, the banjo. >> my friend the banjo. >> hinojosa: does banjo have a name? >> well, it's american princess. american princess. it's an old banjo. it's over 100 years old, and was built in philadelphia. >> hinojosa: so the banjo became a central part of you as a persona in these years where you were walking and you were not talking. >> yeah, it did. >> hinojosa: but let's go back for... and you play it normally. >> i do, all the time. so you might hear it as we're talking. >> hinojosa: it's an extension of... >> yeah, it is. >> hinojosa: but let's talk about how it all started. it started when... it was 1971. >> 1971, in california. an oil spill happens in january, near the golden gate bridge.
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i hear about it on the radio. and we're living up in point reyes, 40 miles away, north. and we drive in, my girlfriend and i, to see the oil spill. but fortunately we can't see it because of the fog. that's probably why the accident occurred. but what we can do is we can smell it. and it is... i mean, it's a horrific smell. >> hinojosa: totally toxic. >> totally toxic, 10,000 gas stations crammed together. and... >> hinojosa: suffocating. >> suffocating, reminding me so much of being in the back seat of a hot summer car with two relatives, two of my philadelphia relatives, with the windows rolled up, and going over potholes, and me as a little boy, you know, just not enjoying that ride at all, getting a little carsick. >> hinojosa: well, there might be a lot of people who say, look, they were very upset when the exxon valdez oil spill happened, they've seen other oil spills, they may even remember
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this 1971 oil spill. but there might be a lot of people who say, "okay, but i don't know about how you see an oil spill and you make the connection to then stop using all motorized transport. it was a process, but what was the moment when you just said, "that's it, i'm really not going to get into a car," et cetera? >> well, you know, we returned to our home after we saw the spill, you know, wanted to do something. i said to my girlfriend, "we should not ride in cars." but she kind of looked at me and said, "we need lots of money to do something like that." and i kind of bought into that, you know, that you probably would need money to get the time. it was not until someone in our community died having an accident that was about my age that i realized that to wait for the money to show up, or to wait for things to get better or whatever or change, was really unrealistic, because at the time that person died, i realized that we only have right now. the future isn't here, and we
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don't know what the future is. so i went for a walk to celebrate this person's life. it was a 20-mile walk. my girlfriend went with me. and on the way back i decided that i'm already walking, i'm going to just continue walking. and that's what i did. when i got home i gave her the keys to the car and just continued walking. >> hinojosa: what gave you the-- two things-- the moment to just say, "i'm definitely going to do it," and what gave you the kind of moral center to say, "and i'm going to stick with it"? a lot of people start things, but they can't necessarily stay with it. >> my parents tell me it's my hard-headedness. >> hinojosa: and your parents actually thought you were losing it. >> well, they did. but my dad was wanting to know why i didn't think of this thing about not riding in cars when i was 16. >> hinojosa: in philadelphia. >> in philadelphia, you know, because it could have saved him a lot of dough.
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>> hinojosa: years later, you decide that you want to take this... would you say it's a personal form of protest? you know, the not using motorized transport? >> well, you know, it's been called that, and i didn't really think of it as a protest so much as actually a lifestyle choice. i thought people were going to follow me right away when i stopped riding in cars. but what did happen was that i found myself getting in arguments. >> hinojosa: oh, you were having to defend yourself all the time. >> i was having to defend myself, you know? >> hinojosa: so you have this kind of peaceful self that is walking everyplace, you know, far from gas, and then you've got to come home and basically, you know, be able to defend what you're doing. >> yeah, it happens on the road. people pull up alongside me and say, "john, get in the car." and i go, "no, man, i'm not getting in the car." they said, "what are you walking for?" and i said, "for the
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environment," you know? and they go, "you're just doing this to make us look bad, man, or to feel bad." >> hinojosa: oh, you were trying to make them look bad. i see. >> yeah, you know, and to feel guilty and to, you know, come on and walk. and maybe, to some degree, at that early stage i... that was true. but then i decided that, "look, i'm arguing all the time." on my birthday, which was coming up, i was going to be turning 27, "i'm going to decide," i said, "to not speak for one day." >> hinojosa: not argue back, not speak, not engage. >> give it a rest. and so i didn't. my birthday came, i didn't speak for that one day, and i learned something right away. >> hinojosa: which was? >> i had not been listening. i would normally listen to someone just enough to think i knew what they were going to say. and then i would stop listening to them, and in my own mind rush ahead to think what i was going to say back to show them that i
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knew better, they were wrong, and i could say it better. and of course that stopped all communication. >> hinojosa: what did that feel like? >> well, to learn that i had been doing that? >> well, actually more like when you stopped talking and you realized that you didn't even have the combative inner voice, the inner chatter? that's, i think, the favorite thing that i've learned from your story, is that, wow, so you can actually stop the chatter. you really were able to do that? >> yeah. and the reason... it took a little while. it took a few months of not speaking. >> hinojosa: wow. months, okay. >> because once you stop talking, you have these voices of past conversations, i think dangling conversations, they might be called. you know, "he said that, and then she said that, and i said that, but i could have said this," you know? >> hinojosa: and you're doing this all in your head. >> all in your head, and you're all, "next time i'm going to say this." and you keep doing this, and it just drives you... you know. well, you know.
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but that's because you have these conversations. but if you stop having those conversations in reality, all that playback goes away, because you're not having those kinds of conversations anymore. >> hinojosa: you say that there was a point in your life you were already walking, and you had stopped talking, and you said, "i decided to use my life for change and to learn what that means." >> yeah. >> hinojosa: so essentially you were almost, like, looking at your life and saying, "i'm going to learn what it means to be..." what, an activist? a change maker? so in the end, what does it feel like? >> what i discovered walking across the country and not speaking is i rediscovered myself.
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because as a black man growing up in the united states, i would see all kinds of media reflections that did not portray me in the most positive light. i saw criminals, i saw sports figures. i could be a sports figure maybe. or i could be a comedian, you know? but... >> hinojosa: this is the '70s, '80s. richard pryor. >> right. but i could not be the person that i am today. and i didn't see that person. but not speaking allowed me... and walking allowed me to go on this journey and to find myself as a human being-- not a black person, not a white person, not a person of color, but a human being. >> hinojosa: not even an american. >> not even an american. >> hinojosa: because you crossed borders. you walked all across south america. >> hinojosa: yeah, and that was the connection to find that, you know, we're connected to each
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other all the way. and my walk across the united states allowed me... and i studied. i got my masters in montana and a ph.d. in wisconsin. but what... my education, my informal education of listening and being with so many people, i realized that even though... when i stopped riding in cars, i thought environment was about trees and pollution and endangered species and all those things. and in my formal education, that's what it was. but my informal education taught me that we're all part of the environment. and if we want to treat the environment in a positive and sustainable way, our first opportunity is with the person sitting across from us, or the person next to us. it's how we treat each other that is so important in how we're going to treat the environment. >> hinojosa: so that if we treat
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each other with respect, dignity, even though we may disagree, that that's the first steps of having an environmental consciousness. >> absolutely, absolutely. and if you look at the world and you see how we're treating each other, you can understand why we have so many, you know, environmental problems. >> hinojosa: one of the things that you said, and this is a quote from you, you said, "growing up as a black person in america, it never had occurred to me that you could do whatever you wanted to do. as a black person in america i thought that was only reserved for the white people." >> yeah. >> hinojosa: so now, you know, when you look out, people still see you as a black man in america. >> yeah. and i am a person of color. >> hinojosa: yes. >> yes, i am, you know. >> hinojosa: but at the same time, you've gone through this very profound experience. how has it changed you in a profound way? yes, you are a black man in america, and yet you're saying, "i'm connected to the earth, i'm a human being." but i think that's really what
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it is, is that once you can let yourself out of all of the pretenses and the connections that people, say, put on you, and then come back to that place where, "yeah, oh, i'm different." i look different. i'm not denying that. but we're all connected, and we're all the same as well. so i think that's where we're trying to get to. or anyway, that's where i got to. >> hinojosa: you started driving again, or using a car, in 1995. >> right, yeah. >> hinojosa: you started using your voice in 1990. so, you know, when you look back, did you in fact change the... i mean, you changed yourself, and your mom and dad, i bet, and your girlfriends, and et cetera, et cetera. but did you change the world? >> well, i think it's... you know, you really want to look
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at... when you start thinking about changing the world, the first person you want to start to change is yourself. and so i think that as i am related to everyone else in the world, changing yourself, changing myself, did in some ways change the world. in a larger sense, when i started walking, when i just started... got out of my car and started walking, and walked across the united states, if someone had said to me, "john, you'll change the world," or, "you'll make a difference if you just get out of your automobile and start walking east," and as i got a little bit further on they said, "yeah, and shut up, too. you're going to change the world, you're going to make a difference," you know? and i would have thought maybe, you know, they'd been doing something that they shouldn't have been doing. but that's what happened. i mean, by the time i got to the east coast, i had a ph.d. in environmental studies, i had
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written on oil spills for my dissertation, exxon valdez happened. i was the only ph.d. writing on oil spills at that time in the united states. i was hired by the united states coast guard to help write the regulations for the country. and so there i am sitting in washington, dc 20 years later after seeing this oil spill, writing the regulations, the oil pollution regulations for the united states. i have to say that i believe that we all have that possiblity, that journey, inside ourselves, that if we do the things that our heart says to do, that we are going to make a difference and we are going to change the world. >> hinojosa: so is that the lesson? i mean, you said that when you first started walking, you wanted people to kind of start walking with you. >> yeah. >> hinojosa: so should we... you know, should... i took a vow of silence for about a day. it was a lot of fun. it was before i had kids.
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i've never stopped using transport. is that your message, "do like me"? >> well, there are a lot of people out there who are giving up riding in their automobiles, particularly young people. >> hinojosa: i know, and that's kind of... did you ever... i mean, in a sense you're such a visionary, because now people really are trying to stop. >> people are, and young people are actually going on these long walks, the long journeys. and, you know, they write me and let me konw that they're doing that. and it's very interesting for me, because i never expected that was going to happen. to aid that, i guess, i'm working on a new initiative and a curriculum called planetlines, which... >> hinojosa: and this is for grade school? >> k through university. >> hinojosa: and what's the essence of the curriculum? >> well, it is an environmental studies curriculum. and as i say, environmental studies now for me goes beyond what we traditionally think of
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environment to encompass human rights, civil rights, economic equity, gender equality, and how we treat each other, meaning all our relations. but at the same time, while we go on this walk and we're collecting this anectodal data, stories about people we meet and what they do and what kind of jobs they have and how they relate to the environment, at the same time you can measure wtih little instruments that we carry, an instrument pack, temperature and humidity and soil moisture and water quality. and all those things go into a line on a web site which allow us to look at our journey, and people tshare that journey. and the more people that do that, the better we know, the more we know about the place we live. >> hinojosa: so you're back with us entirely. >> i am.
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>> hinojosa: you are... you continue to walk, but you're in cars, you're in trains, you're in planes. you have a family with young children. >> yes. >> hinojosa: you're obviously talking. >> i am. >> hinojosa: you are. although, you know, people have said that because of the fact that you didn't speak for 17 years that your vocal cords are actually very young. but what do you miss? you know, do you find yourself in the hustle and bustle sometimes and say, "wow, i miss walking," or do you find yourself arguing and say, "i really need to be quiet"? >> i try not to argue. i try to really keep centered about that. it just seems like a very important lesson for me, and something that we all could work on, which is to be able to really listen fully to each other. >> hinojosa: when you feel like you're not listening fully, does something catch you and say, "john, stop"? >> yeah, it does. >> hinojosa: when does that happen? >> if i find myself getting angry, you know, and i'm going,
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"well, wait, i have to stop." and if i'm listening to someone and take whatever it is that i'm getting angry about, and i say, "okay, you're going to be able to get angry about that, but not right now. just put that aside, and listen to this person, because maybe you haven't heard yet of what you need to hear. now, you can always get angry. you can always come back and have what you believe to be that, you know, inside you. but let's put it aside for now and listen." angry is maybe the wrong word. passionate is... i think that's the better word. >> hinojosa: so here's a question i have for you. i mean, i'm sure that over these years when you were walking and not talking, the number of times that people said to you, "john francis, (speaking spanish), you're crazy"... >> si.
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>> hinojosa: you know, and you did... again, you did walk through south america, across the united states. when people would say this to you, well, of course you couldn't respond to them, but, you know, what did that do to constantly have people questioning you, saying, "are you all right, are you okay, john?" >> yeah, i had to question myself. and that's another lesson, to continue to question yourself. because i had to question myself to allow myself to get back into motorized vehicles again. >> hinojosa: when did it happen? >> it happened in venezuela, as i walked through a prison town, eldorado. and i felt as though i was in prison. and unlike not riding, not speaking, where every year i ask myself, "is this the proper thing, does it still work," i never questioned not riding in automobiles. and it wasn't until i walked through this prison town that i felt that i was in prison. and when the guard asked me for my passport i said, "oh, no, i don't need to show you my
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passport. i'm john francis, i'm a goodwill ambassador for the un, and i'm walking around the world." which is very unlike me. and, you know, he didn't shoot me, and i walked on into the forest. and it took me 100 miles to figure out what it was that was going through my mind to do that. and it was that the walking had become a prison. i had never expected to become a un goodwill ambassador or a ph.d., and i never expected i'd have these responsbilities that i owed to the people who helped me get all that education, and for the un who had appointed me this. and so i decided that when i got to brazil, which was several hundred miles away, i would... >> hinojosa: when you talk about several hundred miles away, we're talking what, weeks? >> yeah. >> hinojosa: okay. >> weeks. and what i was going to do was i was going to use motorized vehicles to come back home, visit my parents, who thought
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they would never see me again. and that was another reason. >> hinojosa: right, because actually, i mean, to see your parents would mean maybe two years of travel or walk. >> yeah, even longer. and i wasn't going to see them in this lifetime if i had countinued doing what i was doing. >> hinojosa: so even though your dad was always saying to you, "son, i don't know what's the matter with you, son," there was a profound amount of love between the two of you. >> oh, absolutely. he always showed up. you know, in the book you see that he's always coming to... when i get to get my first degree in oregon he shows up there and he goes, "we're really proud of you, son, but you have to start riding in cars and talking." and we get to montana, you know, i'm graduating with a masters, he goes, "what are you going to do with a masters degree if you don't ride in cars and you don't talk?" >> hinojosa: so he kept on you. it was like year after year. >> hinojosa: i'm in wisconsin getting a ph.d. and he shows up again and he goes, "listen, your mom and i are really proud of you."
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and he's looking around at my apartment. and he goes, "my sister said maybe i should leave you alone, because you seem to be doing a lot better when you're not saying anything. but ph.ds are a dime a dozen. what are you going to do with a ph.d. if you don't ride in cars and talk?" >> hinojosa: you... part of the reason why you decided that you wanted to talk again was to be able to tell your parents that you love them. >> well, you know, i did. and i have to say, at ten years, at the tenth anniversary of me not speaking i called my parents on the phone, and my mother thought it was my brother. and i said, "no, this is johnny." she said, "well, tell me something that only you and i know." and i told her something. >> hinojosa: so this is ten years into your... >> ten years into my silence. >> hinojosa: so you broke it. >> i broke that silence to call them and say, "look, i'm getting ready to... you're going to hear that i'm getting ready to walk around the world. and i want you to know that i'm
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going to be all right and that i love you." >> hinojosa: aww. >> and my mother called my dad to get on the phone, and i spoke for about an hour. and then i stopped. >> hinojosa: for another seven years. >> another seven years. >> hinojosa: wow. so john, you say that there are a lot of young people who are actually engaged with your story, they're learning about your story. >> mm-hmm. >> hinojosa: so what do you want to say to these young people? i mean, in the end, what should we do in relat... what should each of us do in relation to the environment and to our own personal position on what we should be doing? >> well, you know, as i said before, i really firmly believe that how we treat each other is our first opportunity to treat the environment in a sustainable way. if we are the environment, if we are the environment, then that is fundamental. all the other things that we do are extremely important, but they'll be like putting a
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band-aid on something if we can't learn to live together and treat each other with respect and dignity. >> hinojosa: so you were able to do this, though. you were able to function. you were able to teach, to get a ph.d. >> yeah, yeah. >> hinojosa: so, you know, there might be some people who say, "well, maybe that is what i should do. maybe i should..." and that's okay. >> that's okay, that's okay. it's just... i don't want to tell you what your journey is going to look like, what you should do. >> hinojosa: right, well, so the message that you want to leave with the young people who are watching today, and not-so-young people, you found your way by not using a car, by not... you know, by not talking. how do you want young people to find their own way? leave us with those thoughts. >> well, i think there's... you know, you have to look for that something inside you that comes from your heart. you'll know what that feels like. and go with that. you know, that's the beginning
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of your journey. and someone asked me, "how will i know when i'm my journey, john?" and i said, "well, you climb up to that mountain there, you see, and when you get to the top you turn around and you look back, and you see where you came from." >> and they go, "yeah, yeah." i said, "that's your path." i said, "if you practice being good to others and to yourself, you'll be on your path." >> hinojosa: well, thank you so much for those words. we appreciate that. john francis, good luck on your continuing journey, and thank you for joining us. >> thanks very much. continue the conversation at wgbh.org/oneonone. captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org kz
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