These are Faculty for a Future’s six principles

Moniruzzaman Sazal / Climate Visuals Countdown
Moniruzzaman Sazal / Climate Visuals Countdown

They outline our understanding of the emergent world and inform the objectives and development of all of our projects. These principles are not set in stone. It is important to us that they are shaped by, and evolve with, the expertise of our community as it grows.

Read them with this in mind and contribute to their evolution yourself by registering your views and suggestions in this feedback form. We will periodically return to its results and update the principles in line with our community’s thinking.

This page will be updated in due course with some thoughts as to what our principles imply about academia’s role in the crisis.

1. An overall sustainability crisis

The world isn’t just suffering from a climate crisis, but also severe damage to the wider natural world. This includes soil degradation, species extinction, water scarcity, and more - all of which damages our wellbeing. At the same time, inequality, discrimination, mistrust and other social crises are rife. These environmental and social issues don’t exist in isolation – they are entangled.

Ishan Tankha / Climate Visuals Countdown
Ishan Tankha / Climate Visuals Countdown

2. Driven by human systems

The pressures on the Earth and our societies have their roots in social, economic, and political decisions starting centuries ago, and have been dramatically accelerated by post-Industrial Revolution structures and institutions. These have in turn embedded values, norms, and behaviours that are unsustainable, and entrenched inequalities in wealth, pollution, and welfare. What and who we prioritise in our societies now are choices - what we decide determines our future.

Akintunde Akinleye / Climate Visuals Countdown
Akintunde Akinleye / Climate Visuals Countdown

3. Causing severe harms now

Environmental degradation and social instability is already causing wide-ranging, long-lasting, and unpredictable harms. These range from crop failure and supply chain disruption (leading to rises in the cost of living), to loss of land, lives, and livelihoods. It would be dangerous to assume that these harms won’t combine in potentially devastating ways.

Michael Gubi
Michael Gubi

4. Unequal harm, shared danger

Those who have contributed least to crises are typically being harmed first and worst by environmental shocks. This injustice already entails a moral imperative to act. It is also important to recognise that typically sheltered regions are already starting to experience severe shocks. And, in an interconnected world, even seemingly distant disasters are already rippling out to produce global harms. These unequal but shared dangers will intensify.

Aniket Gawade / Climate Visuals Countdown
Aniket Gawade / Climate Visuals Countdown

5. Urgent action to avoid catastrophe

If we do not address these crises quickly, we risk harms so severe that they overwhelm the ability of societies to cope. Every moment of delay means a worse outlook for all - even those who profit from it in the short term.

Quarrie Photography | Jeff Walsh | Cass Hodge
Quarrie Photography | Jeff Walsh | Cass Hodge

6. Together, we can rapidly correct our course

While our situation looks daunting, history shows that rapid social, ecological, and technological transformations across society are possible with sufficient cooperation. Everyone has a role to play in achieving this but academics, as trusted educators and knowledge holders, have a particular responsibility. We can ensure each of our professional and personal choices benefit life, empower those who have been ignored, and collaborate with others outside of our usual spheres. Together, we can realise a safer, healthier, and fairer world.

Abir Abdullah / Climate Visuals Countdown
Abir Abdullah / Climate Visuals Countdown

It is important to us that these principles evolve and improve with the input of our community

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