With World at 'Edge of Abyss,' New Manifesto Urges Action on Nukes and Climate

Sixty years after philosopher Bertrand Russell and physicist Albert Einstein convened a group of leading intellectuals in London to draft and sign a manifesto in which they highlighted the perils posed by nuclear weapons, this generation’s forward-looking thinkers have released an updated version of the document—one that puts the looming climate crisis on par with the threat of nukes and calls for “the creation of a new sustainable civilization on a global scale.”

The Declaration on the 60th Anniversary of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, published Thursday, reads in full:

The declaration has been published in the form of a petition that anyone can sign. The effort is being coordinated by Foreign Policy in Focus, the Asia Institute, and World Beyond War.

Among the first to sign onto the document are: political theorist Noam Chomsky; environmentalist and anti-capitalist Naomi Klein; CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou; former NSA technical director William Binney; and anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott, who said in a statement: “It was the Russell-Einstein manifesto on the threat of nuclear war 60 years ago that started me upon my journey to try to abolish nuclear weapons.”

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Justifying his reason for signing onto the updated manifesto, Chomsky wrote:

In a piece for Foreign Policy in Focus, Asia Institute director Emanuel Pastreich explained how the updated manifesto came to be:

Not only have conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East made the threat of nuclear war “more dire,” Pastreich added, “now we are faced with an existential threat that may rival the destructive consequences even of a full-scale nuclear war: climate change. The rapacious exploitation of our resources and a thoughtless over-reliance upon fossil fuels have caused an unprecedented disruption of our climate. Combined with an unmitigated attack on our forests, our wetlands, our oceans, and our farmland in the pursuit of short-term gains, this unsustainable economic expansion has brought us to the edge of an abyss.”

He concluded: “It falls to us… to decry the reckless acceleration of armaments and the criminal destruction of the ecosystem. The time has come for us to raise our voices in a concerted effort.”

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