To all teaching at universities and colleges
Together with the initiators of Scientists4Future we call for the following action
from Friday, 14 June 2019 until Thursday, 20 June 2019.
During this period, please replace the content of a curricular / existing course with the topic of climate and thus send a clear signal that there is an immediate need for action with regard to man-made climate change. The sharing of comments / pictures and videos of the events by the students in the social media under the hashtag #LecturesForFuture is expressly desired.
As scholars, for most of us it is beyond question that climate change is one of the greatest societal challenges that will have far-reaching consequences for mankind and the environment. There is also a strong consensus that rapid action is needed to halt climate change. Under the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, pupils from all over the world have for months been calling for the authorities to take the necessary steps immediately, otherwise it may be too late – and their future will be gambled away. Many of us sympathize with the pupils and some of us certainly have children who actively participate in these protests. In a letter signed by an impressive number of us, scholars embraced the views of the pupils and stressed the urgent need for action.
How can we as university and college teachers support this process - beyond the already existing activities? For most of us as full-time professors and therefore civil servants a strike is forbidden and we are obliged to neutrality with regard to party politics, all for very good reasons. However, man-made climate change affects everyone – regardless of party boundaries. In another area – also for good reasons – professors are much less restricted, namely that of teaching, which is covered by the almost sacred principle of freedom of teaching at universities and colleges.
So what could be more obvious than to use this very principle to underline the need for rapid action regarding climate change? This could be done in such a way that teachers can put at least one of their lectures on Friday, 14 June 2019 (*) under the motto/label #LecturesForFuture and focus on climate change. There should not be any specifications for the exact content and implementation – a mathematician can, for example, discuss the calculation of climate models with her students, a sociologist could discuss the social consequences of a temperature increase of 4°C in his seminar. The only important thing is that the entire lecture is held under this motto/theme and that the normally planned subject matter is replaced, so to speak, by a topic related to climate change – preferably with reference to the actual course. In contrast to normal class procedure, it is expressly desired that students make extensive use of their mobile phones and share photos and video recordings from the course in the social networks under the hashtag #LecturesForFuture.
(*) Ideally, an event will be selected on Friday, 14 June 2019. Since not all teachers have a suitable course on this date, however, the period of the action runs until 20 June 2019.
Freedom of teaching also means that beyond setting the date there should not and will not be any further central coordination. If there are accompanying courses at the respective university / college, this is of course possible, but the focus should remain with the respective lecturer in the individual course! In order not to dilute the campaign’s impact, we ask you not to hold any kind of event under this theme prior to the date mentioned.
For this action this website was set up.
In addition to the call, this website contains news and the possibility to register the participation as well as the relevant course.
As signatories we will hold our lecture events on 14 June 2019 or during the following week under this theme. Each additional participant increases the impetus of the action and therefore we would like to invite all to join the action #LecturesForFuture.
We hope that the action will help to tackle man-made climate change more decisively and to promote political action to this end.
Together with the initiators of Scientists4Future, we send warm collegial greetings from Kleve