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Department of Computer Science and Technology

 

Declaration on an Academic Response to the Planetary Crisis

December 14, 2023
 
We, the undersigned, 
 
Recognizing that we are in the midst of a planetary crisis arising from climate change, extreme biodiversity loss, the reaching of tipping points, and the crossing of planetary boundaries, causing immense suffering, the potential loss of millions of human and non-human lives, and an existential threat to humanity;
 
That, as teachers and educators, we educate the next generation;
 
That, as academic researchers, we absolutely respect the freedom to choose our areas of work, yet have a moral responsibility to respond to the planetary crisis;
 
That, as judges of academic research, awards, tenure and promotion cases, and research proposals, we have the power to steer the direction of travel of our peers;
 
That, as members of universities and colleges, we have the right to propose, vote on, and advocate for the policies adopted by our employers;
 
Therefore, will ourselves endeavour and urge our academic colleagues:
 

  1. To educate others about the causes and consequences of the planetary crisis and suitable courses of action, keeping in mind the critical need for climate justice and including diverse voices;

  2. When appropriate, to orient their research towards approaches that will mitigate or avert the crisis and to ponder potentially negative outcomes of research outputs;

  3. When reviewing a grant, tenure or promotion case, award, fellowship, or paper to reward work that addresses the planetary crisis and actively challenge work to the contrary; 

  4. To engage with professional societies to put into place policies that encourage papers in academic conferences and journals to state how they address the planetary crisis;

  5. To engage with their places of employment to help them rapidly decarbonise education and educational infrastructure, including reducing the carbon and ecological impact of energy, buildings, travel, and food; restoring biodiversity; and adopting sustainable practices;

  6. To travel by air only as the last resort; instead, using lower-carbon modes of transport and advocating for and relying on online participation in academic events;

  7. To shun funding for research or training from or indirect support of corporations and entities that either deny climate change or through their (in)action worsen the planetary crisis.

Please sign or circulate this form and feel free to get in touch with Srinivasan Keshav (sk818@cam.ac.uk) or Lena Yang (lyr24@cam.ac.uk).