Image: UNMIL/Staton Winter
New York: The United Nations is encouraging everyone across the world to participate in the literal race against the climate emergency.
UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, on Monday launched #TheHumanRace, a global challenge to show solidarity with people in the most disaster-prone countries and those hardest hit by climate change.
‘A race we can win’
Organized in partnership with the popular exercise app Strava, the challenge encourages participants to log 100 minutes of physical activity, and culminates in the week of World Humanitarian Day, celebrated annually on 19 August.
“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win … let’s lace up our running shoes and win the climate race for us all,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The campaign aims to carry an urgent message to world leaders attending the UN climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow in November, that solidarity begins with developed countries delivering on their decade-old pledge of $100 billion annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.
Support from top athletes
The climate emergency is wreaking havoc across the world at a scale that people and humanitarian organizations on the front lines cannot manage, OCHA said.
Droughts, heatwaves, raging wildfires and horrific floods are shattering the lives of millions of people, causing them to lose their homes, livelihoods and sometimes even their lives.
Top athletes from across the globe are backing the campaign. Brazilian ultramarathoner and environmental lawyer Fernanda Maciel explained why she is part of #TheHumanRace.
“I am excited to run for the most important goal in our lifetime: to save our planet and the people living on it. We run every day, for ourselves. Why not run for something bigger? Everybody should join this campaign because we need compassion. It is time to run together,” she said.
Delivering the message
To join the #TheHumanRace, just log your 100 minutes of running, cycling, swimming, walking, or other activity, on the Strava app during the week of 16-31 August.
Anyone unable to take part physically can also sign up and show their support on the campaign’s microsite: https://www.worldhumanitarianday.org/
OCHA said whether or not participants log 100 minutes of activity, each sign-up will help in delivering the campaign’s message to global leaders.
Strava CEO Michael Horvath underscored that there is strength in numbers.
“With over 88 million athletes in 195 countries, the Strava community has the power to help unlock solutions to some of the world’s most critical problems,” he said. “That’s why we invite athletes everywhere to join this challenge to raise awareness of climate change and its disproportionate impact on marginalized communities.”