Drawing on childhood memories, Kelvin Chamunorwa looks at how actuaries can inform on emerging environmental risks
A seemingly oddball article online captured my attention the other day.
Its author reflects on his childhood experiences in Ireland and how they influence his parenting style today. He recounts how through guilt-tripping, he was always made to finish all the food on his plate, no matter his appetite. His story profoundly resonates with my own, even though my childhood in Zimbabwe was geographically miles apart. His guilt trip would start when told "if you were in the Third World ", which wouldn't have worked in my case, but other countries were named to similar effect.
There is a crucial point to be made in this reflection. Access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food are key pillars for food security, which we know is linked to health, the environment and economic development. In his article, Trevor Maynard highlights Maslow's hierarchy of needs to reinforce the importance of food for human survival. He then describes the reverberating impact of a food shock scenario recently published by Lloyd's of London, and makes a case for why it is important to consider the possible causes and financial effects (Shock tactics and food security).
Climate change, driven by the carbon economy more generally, is one of the leading risks to food security. Given the immediacy and extensive effect of climate change on the global financial system, there is a key role for actuaries, working alongside others, to understand and mitigate the risks. This was also emphasised by the speakers at our webinar on investment and carbon risk a few weeks back. You can access the recording here.
At The Actuary, we seek to create interaction with readers of the magazine on pertinent matters - the webinars we regularly host are part of this effort.
In the same vein, this month we introduce a new column: Agony actuary. It is intended to raise important issues relevant to our actuarial work, but in a light-hearted style (Agony actuary on peer reviews). If you have an 'actuarial agony', or an opinion on the topic of the first instalment, we want to hear about it.
The more oddball, the better!