Microbiologists' warning to humanity

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Sign our petition to highlight the critical importance of microorganisms in today’s climate emergency.

We invite all microbiologists to endorse the Microbiologists’ Warning – microorganisms are so critical to achieving an environmentally sustainable future that ignoring them risks the fate of humanity.

If you have microbiology training, we invite you to endorse our Consensus Statement published in Nature Reviews Microbiology entitled “Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: microorganisms and climate change”. Our Microbiologists’ Warning aims to raise awareness of the microbial world and make a call to action for microbiologists to become increasingly engaged in, and microbial research to become increasingly infused into, the frameworks for addressing climate change.

The Consensus Statement 

Before signing the petition, please ensure you have read the Consensus Statement and/or summary that includes the abstract, introduction, description of Scientist’s Warning Movement and the microbiologists’ call to action from the Consensus Statement. By signing the article and adding your name, you will be indicating that you generally agree with our Consensus Statement and will therefore be helping to amplify our message to humanity.

2021: Translations of the Consensus Statement are available in the following languages: Chinese,  TurkishFrenchPortugueseSpanish and Russian.

The Scientists' Warning Movement

The motivation for the Microbiologists’ Warning comes from the Alliance of World Scientists (AWS) and the Scientists’ Warning Movement that was initiated by Bill Ripple (Oregon State University) to alert humanity to the impacts of human activities on global climate and the environment. 

In 1992, the Union of Concerned Scientists alerted humanity to the threat of climate change and the need for sustainability with 1,700 scientists signing the first Warning

Twenty-five years later (2017) more than 15,000 scientists signed the Second Warning, with the total reaching over 21,000 in 2019. At the heart of the Warning is a call to governments and institutions to shift policy away from economic growth and towards a conservation economy that will stop environmental destruction and enable human activities to achieve a sustainable future. 

A film, The Second Warning, is currently being made that aims to document scientists’ advocacy for humanity to replace ‘business as usual’ and take action to achieve the survival of all species by averting the continuing environmental and climate change crisis. 

Linked to the Second Warning is also a series of focused Scientists’ Warning articles (50+), including our Microbiologists’ Warning. In early 2020 the World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency was published with endorsements from over 11,000 scientists, and the website is still taking signatures.

Why are signatures required?

To grow the Microbiologists’ Warning, signatories are encouraged to work with their professional societies to write additional article(s) addressing specific aspects of microorganisms and climate change related to members’ expertise and particularly emphasising issues of national relevance.

The ability of science and society to address climate change will be considerably empowered by microbiologists, by agencies demonstrably incorporating microorganisms into their ‘thinking’ and by broadly enhancing microbial literacy in society.

Microbiologists can also contribute to efforts such as world scientists' warning of a climate emergency and by looking to engage in a variety of ways to act on our own warnings to humanity.

More action needed

In 2021, despite promising developments, the need for climate action has grown even more urgent - read The Climate Emergency: 2020 in Review and watch this video on six steps for climate mitigation.

In July 2021, the World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency 2021 was published. Bill Ripple explains that “despite the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate action to date has been insufficient and current planetary vital signs reflect the catastrophic consequences of conducting business as usual. Renewing our call for transformative action, we propose specific policies including phasing out and ultimately banning fossil fuels.”

Help us spread the word by re-sharing our social media posts (TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn)

Where have the signatures come from?

We've received endorsements from Microbiologists all over the world. Here's where they come from.


Organisations that endorse the Microbiologists' Warning

Along with a host of academics, many organisations have added their name to our petition. View their location here


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