Scholars' Oath to the Future

FrançaisSerment des universitaires pour l'avenir
Español, El juramento de los académicos al futuro
PусскийОбет ученых во имя Будущего
BahasaJanji para Cendekiawan untuk Masa Depan

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.  

The apology and oath will be read at COP27 in Egypt, November 2022, by scholars from the global North and South, which is also when the initial list of signatories will be released. Other languages are here. If you have a PhD and support the Oath, please sign by completing the form below. After you sign the Oath we will contact you to share initiatives on youth engagement. This is an initiative of Scholars' Warning. Please forward this Oath to colleagues, so that more of us can receive the invitation to respond to these difficult times with greater honesty, compassion and courage. 

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We want to remind signatories on our birthdays to celebrate by re-committing to this oath.

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