What would you do to help address global climate change and save the planet? Install solar panels? Wear organic knits? Eat bugs?!
You heard me right…. turns out that a vegetarian diet is not the only way to eat green. Eating insects provides high amounts of protein, yet requires less energy and space to live, compared to farm-raised animals. In short, its eco-friendly health food!
Lest you believe that this “Survivor” fare is reserved only for reality TV shows and distant countries, consider this TEDtalks video:
While the idea of eating bugs leaves me a bit jumpy, it turns out that those that engage in entomophagy (the fancy way to say bug-eaters) actually outnumber those of us that do not intentionally ingest insects. If you can get past the crunchy exterior and wriggly legs – and I’m not sure I can – promoting the eating of bugs could be the answer to feeding the world.
This is because insects are highly nutritious, reproduce quickly, and do not need vast stretches of farms to feed and grow (and poop). The amount of proteins, healthy fats and amino acids in bugs have led scientists to consider sending silkworms and termites into outer space to feed astronauts on extended missions.
Because insects are easy, quick and inexpensive to raise for food, many believe that bugs should supplement the diets of children up to 3 years of age that succumb to malnutrition, due to low calories and low protein. Frank Franklin, a professor and director of pediatric nutrition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham advocates processing insects into an easy to ingest form similar to peanut butter.
Not only can entomophagy save lives, but it can also save the planet.
Raising livestock contributes to 9% of the total global CO2 emissions, plus 37% of its methane and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions, according to a 2006 report by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Comparing the emissions of raising pigs and cattle with the environmental impacts of 5 species of insects: mealworms, house crickets, migratory locusts, sun beetles and Argentine cockroaches, the bugs emit less CO2 per unit of weight, as well as less methane, nitrous oxide and ammonia.
So, if we can convince people to eat more bugs, and then raise fewer livestock as a result, we could dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention, lower our cholesterol, with less saturated fat in our diets.
I don’t know. There are a lot of things I would do to save the planet, but I might just have to draw the line at eating bugs!
What about you?