The Heidelberg Appeal: Beware of False Gods and Prophets
The Heidelberg Appeal (1992)
The Heidelberg Appeal was released to the public at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. By the end of the summit, 425 scientists and other intellectual leaders had signed the appeal.
Today, thousands of signatories, including many Nobel Prize winners, from more than 100 countries have signed the Heidelberg Appeal. In spite of this tremendous and growing support from the world’s scientific community, it has received little media attention.
Neither a statement of corporate interests nor a denial of environmental problems, the Heidelberg Appeal is a quiet call for reason and a recognition of scientific progress as the solution to, not the cause of, the health and environmental problems that we face.
The Appeal expresses a conviction that modern society is the best equipped in human history to solve the world’s ills, provided that they do not sacrifice science, intellectual honesty, and common sense to political opportunism and irrational fears.
Thus, the Heidelberg Appeal is wholeheartedly supported by CFACT Europe.”
“A version of the Heidelberg Appeal was published in the June 1, 1992, Wall Street Journal over the signatures of 46 prominent scientists and other intellectuals. It has subsequently been endorsed by some 4,000 scientists, including 72 Nobel Prize winners. The Appeal was for an anthropocentric assessment of the world’s resources and a utilitarian as opposed to abolitionist approach to hazardous substances used or created by technology. It targeted as irrational, by implication, if not explicitly, both a vision of a “Natural State” with intrinsic rights to impede the activities of man, and hysterical fears of environmental poisons, disproportionate to the threat and dismissive of their associated benefits. …”
Addressed to the chiefs of state and governments
Heidelberg, April 14, 1992
“We want to make our full contribution to the preservation of our common heritage, the Earth.
“We are, however, worried at the dawn of the twenty-first century, at the emergence of an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development.
“We contend that a Natural State, sometimes idealized by movements with a tendency to look towards the past, does not exist and has probably never existed since man’s first appearance in the biosphere, insofar as humanity has always progressed by increasingly harnessing Nature to its needs and not the reverse.
“We fully subscribe to the objectives of a scientific ecology for a universe whose resources must be taken stock of, monitored and preserved. But we herewith demand that this stock-taking, monitoring and preservation be founded on scientific criteria and not on irrational pre-conceptions.
“We stress that many essential human activities are carried out either by manipulating hazardous substances or in their proximity, and that progress and development have always involved increasing control over hostile forces, to the benefit of mankind. We therefore consider that scientific ecology is no more than an extension of this continual progress toward the improved life of future generations. We intend to assert science’s responsibility and duty towards society as a whole. We do however forewarn the authorities in charge of our planet’s destiny against decisions which are supported by pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data.
“We draw everybody’s attention to the absolute necessity of helping poor countries attain a level of sustainable development which matches that of the rest of the planet, protecting them from troubles and dangers stemming from developed nations, and avoiding their entanglement in a web of unrealistic obligations which would compromise both their independence and their dignity.
“The greatest evils which stalk our Earth are ignorance and oppression, and not Science, Technology and Industry whose instruments, when adequately managed, are indispensable tools of a future shaped by Humanity, by itself and for itself, overcoming major problems like overpopulation, starvation and worldwide diseases.”
The Heidelberg Appeal