Wish To Save The World? Eat Bugs!


CCSS NAS-6 NCSS-1 396 Words 3-Minute Listen
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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  • wolfy_blue
    wolfy_blueTuesday, June 15, 2021 at 8:42 am
    Um...is there another way to save the world?? I never ate a bug before but I don't want to try it.
    • talltower
      talltowerFriday, May 21, 2021 at 6:53 am
      But how many bugs would we have to eat?
      • 4909addie
        4909addieWednesday, May 12, 2021 at 8:23 am
        I would eat worms if I absolutely needed to.
        • bigbruhbro74
          bigbruhbro74Monday, April 12, 2021 at 2:59 pm
          if you have a pet insect don't let him/her watch this lol
          • indra
            indraWednesday, April 7, 2021 at 4:12 pm
            Nothings wrong with eating bugs, but I don't want to eat one.
            • blasting-banana
              blasting-bananaTuesday, March 9, 2021 at 12:53 pm
              I like bug but eating them would be so GROSS
              • zyrobomucudu
                zyrobomucuduTuesday, February 16, 2021 at 9:27 am
                I would never try eating any bugs
                • zaks
                  zaksMonday, February 1, 2021 at 1:23 pm
                  I am not eating any bugs! 🤮
                  • unicorn87
                    unicorn87Monday, February 1, 2021 at 8:32 am
                    bugs are cool but I've never tried them
                    • unicorn87
                      unicorn87Monday, February 1, 2021 at 8:32 am
                      I mean I've never tried eating them
                    • sokeefe_forever
                      sokeefe_foreverMonday, February 1, 2021 at 7:08 am
                      Oh wow. 1 hamburger = 660 GALLONS of water? I mean, my family has hamburgers like once a week, and we make like 12-20 of them bc I have a big family. That is a ton of water, and truth be told, I like many other things that don't involve meat. Pizza, Salad, Spaghetti, they all can taste better with meat, but they're still good without it. Beef Brisket and bacon = my favorite meats, and they're the animals that give off the most methane....