Wish To Save The World? Eat Bugs!

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Deep-fried insects on sale at a food stall in Bangkok, Thailand (Credit: Takoradee/Creativecommons.org/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

Experts assert that if food were a country, it would rank third behind China and the US as one of the biggest greenhouse gas polluters. The reason is the ever-rising demand for meat. Livestock farming is responsible for 14.5 percent of global methane emissions. While cows are the worse offenders, pigs, sheep, and other animals contribute as well.

Animal husbandry also causes land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, and deforestation. With the world population forecast to rise to 9.8 billion by 2050, things are only looking worse for our already dwindling natural resources. While going vegetarian would undoubtedly help, meat consumption is too ingrained in most western diets to allow for such a drastic, permanent shift. That is why environmentalists are advocating substituting some of the beef, chicken, or pork with delectable bugs!

The environmental impact of livestock farming (Credit: Thinkgreen.gov.gi)

Insects, which transition from larva to pupa to adult within a matter of months, if not weeks, are ready for consumption much faster than livestock. They also require much less room, use a fraction of the water and food needed for animal livestock, and produce far less greenhouse gas and ammonia.

Of the 1.1 million insect species worldwide, scientists have identified 1,700 as edible. Among them are termites, ants, grasshoppers, crickets, grubs, and earthworms. Just like livestock, each insect has a distinct taste. Termites are tangy and minty, tree worms taste just like pork, and sago grubs are similar to bacon.

Insect cultivation requires much less space (Credit: Little Heroes. Org)

While eating bugs might be a new concept for Western Hemisphere residents, over 2 billion people worldwide​​​​​​ consume these critters as a regular part of their diet. Besides being delicious, bugs are high in protein, have very few calories, and are free of the saturated fat found in animal meat. Insects are also very versatile. Creative chefs can use them to whip up protein-rich soup stocks, make crunchy baked treats, and even stir-fry a few with their vegetables.

Insects are full of nutrition (Credit: Trendhunter.com)

Fortunately, those unable to stomach the thought of cracking open the crispy shell of a tarantula the way they would tear into a Dungeness crab have other choices. They can replace some of their regular protein sources by using cricket flour for baking or select one of the many readymade products, such as pasta and crackers, which incorporate the insect flour. So go ahead and kick trepidation to the curb - both your body and Mother Earth will thank you for it!

Resources: fao.org, davidsuzuki.org, NPR.org

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advocatingbiodiversityconceptconsumptiondeforestationdelectabledistinctdrasticdwindlingedibleenvironmentalistsforecastgreenhouse gasincorporateoffenderstarantulatermitestransition trepidationversatile
706 Comments
  • dacewojy-155242497616
    dacewojy-155242497616Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 1:59 pm
    i hate eating bug anny way and i lost my appetite
    • Terrell's GirlThursday, April 11, 2019 at 1:54 pm
      I would try it
      • Info GraphicThursday, April 11, 2019 at 12:11 pm
        Actually meal worms will make you sick if you eat them. So never eat them.
        • i_ship_caleo
          i_ship_caleoFriday, April 12, 2019 at 9:44 am
          wrong meal worms can be eaten raw and alive, they can also be pan-fried, but dry-roasting is often the tastiest and least recognizable way to eat them.
        • YA YEET FAMThursday, April 11, 2019 at 9:43 am
          They actually loo pretty good
          • someone Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 7:30 am
            I would not eat it too
            • yeetThursday, April 11, 2019 at 7:20 am
              If i saw this in my food I would not even eat it
              • rockThursday, April 11, 2019 at 7:08 am
                That is so cool!!
                • GeraldWednesday, April 10, 2019 at 11:16 am
                  I would only eat them if they had at least 5 layers of chocolate
                  • hellen sandersWednesday, April 10, 2019 at 11:04 am
                    amanda higgins I need help too so lets work together to find out alright. :)
                    • Aaron morenoWednesday, April 10, 2019 at 7:34 am
                      I feel bad for the insects