Today, on World Humanitarian Day, we invite you to join #TheHumanRace, the global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people who need it the most. Diabetes and climate change are two global threats affecting all countries in the 21st Century, as they work individually and together to hinder human, social and economic development. On this day, we want to highlight the immediate consequences of the climate emergency for the world’s most vulnerable people (including people living with diabetes), ensure that their voices are heard and that no one is left behind.
The connection between people, health and the environment can best be understood by looking at the relationship between diabetes and climate change. Many studies have demonstrated that diabetes and climate change are linked. According to the Diabetes and Climate Change Report, published by the International Diabetes Federation, “diabetes and climate change are directly and indirectly interconnected. Direct connections refer to how diabetes and climate change adversely affect each other. The indirect connections refer to the common global vectors and pathways that are fuelling both these health and development disasters”. For example, extreme weather events and hotter temperatures may increase morbidity and mortality in people living with diabetes, especially those with cardiovascular complications. The disruption in the supply of life-saving medications (e.g. insulin) and damages to healthcare infrastructures due to extreme weather may also threaten the lives of people living with the condition.
However, the interconnections between these two issues have rarely been discussed at the political level, and policies to tackle either of these have tended to be taken independently of one another. It is absolutely necessary to foster the communication between health and environmental communities and fight these global challenges together, through the collaboration between UN agencies, governments, NGOs and academics.
Therefore, everyone is invited to join #TheHumanRace: run, ride, swim, walk or do any activity of your choice for a cumulative 100 minutes between August 16 and August 31 in solidarity with vulnerable people, and to tell world leaders that they expect developed countries to deliver on their decade-old pledge of $100 billion annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. Stand in solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people by using these hashtags in your social media activities! #TheHumanRace #WorldHumanitarianDay.