Jon grew up on the shores of a wooded lake in Connecticut, attended Phillips Academy, Andover and then Brown University. He earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Colorado, in 1971. The same year, in honor of Earth Day 1, he co-authored the first environmental science textbook in the United States. It sold 100,000 copies and speaheaded the development of environmental science curricula in North America. At the same time, hounded by restless spirits, Jon began wandering the globe. Over the decades, he has kayaked across the North Pacific and around Cape Horn, mountain biked through the Gobi desert, made first climbing ascents of big walls on Baffin Island, and first ski descents in the Tien Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzia.