Saturday 5 November 2022

Scholars' Oath to the Future

At the COP27 climate summit of the UNFCCC, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the Scholars' Oath to the Future is launched. Within the oath, scholars apologise for their past caution and promise to all young people who face a climate-damaged future that they will be bolder and more engaging in future. 

The text of the oath follows below. By the day of its launch, 165 scholars from 34 countries had taken the oath. Over the coming months they will read it to their students or other young persons they work with and engage with the feedback. The list of those scholars, and who they work with, follows below. 

Scholars' Oath to the Future 

This is an apology and an oath of renewed commitment. It is an apology from me and my fellow scholars, to you, the younger generations whom we are meant to serve. It is also an oath to learn from our past mistakes as we seek to better contribute in future. 

That future is bleak. You, amongst the younger generations, are clearer on that than most older people. You know that the total pollution and devastation has exceeded the planet's capacity to cope. You know that today's dominant economies compel that destruction to continue. You have a clearer sight on the situation than most people older than you because you are less compromised in how you assess the bad news. You are less likely to assume the future will be like the past. You are less likely to keep quiet about uncomfortable ideas for fear of hurting your income, reputation, or influence. You are less likely to try to believe something because it might numb your own pain. That is because you must live in the future that will exist, not one that many older people prefer to imagine when they dismiss 'negative thinking'.

Scholars from around the world in many disciplines have known for years that the trends are in the wrong direction for humanity and life on Earth. Whatever corner of the world we live in, we have seen how our efforts to reverse worrying trends have not been working. We ignored all of that to allow credible lies to be put to policy makers, senior leaders and the general public. We justified our complacency to ourselves with a variety of explanations that put our own needs, pleasures and fears first. We blamed powerful others, rather than our own part in the charade.

Today, the rich countries, large corporations, elite institutions and mainstream media all support the credible lies that subdue us so that we do not rebel against the global economic system. These lies form the modern face of processes of domination and exploitation that have existed for centuries. But from today we promise not to compromise any more. When there is unsettling analysis, we will share it. When there is injustice, we will name it. When there is distortion by national or corporate interest, we will challenge it. If we fear a backlash, then we will both name that fear and overcome it. Then, if you within younger generations are critical of our efforts, we will respond with curiosity and seek to make amends. Because we recognise that our role is to contribute to your future. 

Myself and my fellow scholars are sorry for our own part in not helping enough in the past. We promise to learn with you about how to reduce harm, uphold universal values, and enable futures that may still be possible. Therefore, I will tell others of this apology and oath, and promote mutual support. Then every year I will publicly reconfirm this commitment to all of you.  

If you have a PhD you can take the oath here. People who take the oath will then be invited to participate in a video project and also to share their experiences of discussions with young people about making this commitment real. 

The Oath is already available in 6 languages: EnglishFrançaisEspañolPусский中文Bahasa.

The following scholars are people with a PhD and who take the oath in a personal capacity:

Rachelle Adam, Law Faculty, Hebrew University, IL

John Adams, Saybrook University, US

Jorn Altmann, Seoul National University, KR

Alexandra-Ellen Appel, Personal capacity, Greenpeace, US

Adele Aubrey, University of Manchester, UK

Susan Bailey, Edith Cowan University, AU

Nicole Bale, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, NL

Bobby Banerjee, City University of London, PT

Wolmet Barendregt, Eindhoven University of Technology, NL

Michael Bauer, Naropa University, US

David Bazett-Jones, University of Toronto, CA

Alan Bellamy, Unattached, UK

Jem Bendell, University of Cumbria, ID

Geoff Berry, International Ecopsychology Society, AU

Andreas Birgegard, Karolinska institutet, SE

Betsy Bolton, Swarthmore College, MA

Dominique Bourg, University of Lausanne, CH

Andii Bowsher, Northumbria University, UK

Elizabeth Bragg, Sustainable Futures Australia, AU

Miguel Brandao, KTH Royal institute of Technology, SE

Mark Bricca, Unattached, US

Lajos Brons, Lakeland University Japan, JP

Jennifer Browdy, Bard College at Simon's Rock, CA

Hedy Bryant, Charles Sturt University, AU

Leandro Caniglia, Unattached, AR

Hamilton Carvalho, USP, BR

Jindra Cekan, Unattached, CZ

Floriane Clement, INRAE, FR

Yves Cochet, Institut Momentum, FR

Matt Colborn, Alef Trust, UK

John Colvin, Emerald Nwetwork Ltd, UK

Mickael Coriat, IRAP - University Toulouse 3, FR

David Crookall, UCA, France, FR

Hamish Cunningham, University of Sheffield, UK

Ika Darnhofer, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, AT

Mathew Davis, Unattached, US

Todd Dean, Unattached, US

Bridget Doran, Unattached, NZ

Jeffrey Douglass, Unattached, UK

Hannah Dugdale, University of Groningen, NL

Francois Dulac, Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives, FR

Jean-Baptiste Durand, CIRAD, FR

Victoria Esteves, University of Stirling, UK

Jelel Ezzine, Ecole Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Tunis (ENIT), TN

Sherry Falsetti, Unattached, US

Blair Feltmate, University of Waterloo, CA

Tina Fields, Naropa University, US

Tobi Fishel, USC Institute for Integrative Health & Wellness, US

Rachel Forgasz, Monash University, AU

Robert Fowler, University of Adelaide, AU

Katy Fox, Mycelium Design, LU

Gudula Frieling, Unattached, DE

Tomasz Ganicz, Technical Univeristy of Lodz, PL

Dwight Gaudet, Unattached, US

Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology (UTS), AU

Susan Goldsworthy, International Institute for Management Development, UK

Anthony Goodchild,, UK

Christopher Gore, Unattached, CA

Aidy Halimanjaya, Dala Institute for Environment and Society, ID

Juan Jesus Haro Mora, Unattached, US

Hiroshi Hasegawa, The Research Institute for Saving Mother Earth, JP

Julie Hawkins, University of Reading, AU

Stephen Healy, UNSW, AU

Yogi Hendlin, Erasmus School of Philosophy, NL

John Hiemstra, The King's University, CA

Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, University of South Australia, AU

Kerryn Higgs, University of Tasmania, AU

Mark Hixon, University of Hawaii, US

Daniel Hoyer, The Evolution Institute, CA

Ric Hudgens, Viridis Graduate Institute, US

Stasha Huntingford, Mount Royal University, CA

Justine Huxley, St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, UK

John James, University of New South Wales, AU

Robert R. Janes, Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice, CA

Nico Jenkins, Maine College of Art, US

Jeremy Jimenez, SUNY Cortland, US

Stephen Johnson, Unattached, UK

Philip Johnson, University of Hawaii, US

Mike Joy, Victoria University, AU

Sean Kelly, California Institute of Integral Studies, US

Chrislain Eric Kenfack, University of Alberta, CA

Peter Kindfield, Hilltop Education Connections, US

Bernadette Kirwan, Unattached, UK

Bartlomiej Knosala, Politechnika Śląska, PL

Paul Kreiss, Concordia University Chicago, US

Eva Lantsoght, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, EC

Greg Lennon, Unattached, US

Joel Levey, Wisdom at Work, US

Rolla Lewis, California State University, East Bay, US

Vicki Little, RMIT University, Vietnam, VN

Christian Mahieu, ANIS-Catalyst, FR

Janet Maker, Unattached, US

David Mark Welch, Marine Biological Laboratory, US

Rebecca Martin, District Council, NZ

Stephen Martin, University of the West of England Bristol, UK

Andrew Mathewson, University of Washington, US

Aimee Maxwell, Unattached, AU

Stella Mbau, LOABOWA, KE

Bill McGuire, University College London, UK

Josie McLean, The Partnership Pty Ltd, AU

Deena Metzger, Unattached, US

Susanne Moser, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting, US

Surajit C Mukhopadhyay, Amity University Chhattisgarh, IN

Maaike Muntinga, Amsterdam UMC-VU University, NL

Sandra Niessen, Unattached, NL

Wolfgang Nitschke, CNRS, FR

Diana Caroline Njama, Unattached, KE

Oluwaseun Oguntuase, Lagos State University, NG

Leif Ohlsson, Gutenborg University, SE

Sarah Ollier, Loughborough University, CZ

Adi Ophir, Visiting Professor of the Humanities, Brown University, US

Hans C. Ossebaard, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, AU

Miguel Pajares, University of Barcelona, ES

Michal Palasz, Jagiellonian University, PL

Michael Palkowski, University of East London, UK

Yin Paradies, Deakin University, AU

Ronald Parry, Rice University, US

David Pellow, University of California, Santa Barbara, US

John Phelps, Unattached, US

David Phillips, University of Southampton, UK

C. J. Pickett, Swarthmore, US

Max Pinsard, Low-tech Lab Montreal, FR

Igor Polskiy, GEN-Russia, ME

Marion Princaud, Waste Hunter, FR

Josef Rabenbauer, Unattached, DE

Terry Rankin, Retired, US

Rupert Read, UEA, UK

William Rees, University of British Columbia, CA

Eloy Revilla Sanchez, Estacion Biologica de Doñana CSIC, ES

Jane Rogers, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Fred Rohrer, Pedagogical University St.Gallen, Switzerland, CH

Amanda Root, Unattached, UK

Barton Rubenstein, Unattached, US

Daniel Ruiz, SSSUP, IT

Stephen Rush, Unattached, UK

Noel Salazar, KU Leuven, BE

Steven Earl Salmony, AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, US

Geoffrey Samuel, Cardiff University, UK

Joseph Scalia III, Unattached, US

Ginie Servant-Miklos, Erasmus University College, NL

Caroline Smith, University of Tasmania, AU

Jennie Stephens, Northeastern University, IE

Stephen Sterling, University of Plymouth, UK

Dr. Makere Stewart-Harawira, University of Alberta, CA

Ian Sturrock, Teesside University, UK

Cedric Sueur, Universite de Strasbourg, CH

Mark Swoiskin, UCSF, US

Chong Kee Tan, Labishire Homestead Commons, US

Ye Tao, Rowland Institute at Harvard, US

Rachel Taylor, Unattached, AU

Wayne Teel, James Madison University, US

Lars Tranvik, Uppsala University, SE

Elia Valentini, University of Essex, UK

Leo van Kampenhout, Utrecht University, NL

Petra Verdonk, Amsterdam UMC-VU University, NL

Marjolein Visser, Université libre de Bruxelles, BE

Linda Vogelsong, WovenStory Productions, US

Nathanael Wallenhorst, UCO, FR

Arthur Weaver, Unattached, US

Martin Weinel, Cardiff University, UK

William Welsh, Self, US

Gesa Weyhenmeyer, Uppsala University, SE

David Wheeler, Sustainable Transitions Costa Rica, CR

Sarah Williams, University of Cumbria, UK

Dominique Beth Wilson, Western Sydney University, AU

If you have a PhD you can take the oath here 

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