Vital Nature: Bugs for dinner

The U.N. is fighting hunger, climate change and greenhouse gas emissions all in one shot. But this force of this triple-threat may be hard from some to swallow—entomophagy. OK, so what is that? Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects. In an extensive 15-part report presented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations located at the Roman headquarters, creepy-crawlers have been proposed as a viable, eco-friendly potential ally to humans as well as livestock in combatting food shortages and malnutrition while decreasing our carbon footprint.

Insects are currently components in the diets of around two billion people around the world, notably in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as reported by the organization. The report promotes entomophagy for broad reasons: health, environment and livelihood and the economic and social factors involved.

Because insects are cold-blooded, they are far less demanding creatures to feed. The U.N. report announced that the  average amount of caloric energy required to fuel crickets, as an example, is 12 times less than what is required to feed cattle. Edible insects create much less greenhouse gases and unwanted emissions, methane and ammonia for example, than basic livestock.  Insect harvesting is generally an affordable, low-tech investment option that anyone can contribute to. Perhaps most of us in a considerably well-off country don’t feel entirely obligated to add unappetizing critters to our daily meal plans, but keeping in mind the possibility to fund such projects in less fortunate areas of this world is an exceptional consideration, and a rewarding contribution to humanity.

Alright, sounds “healthy” enough, but perhaps you still aren’t convinced that adding bugs to your diet would be a beneficial or sound addition to your diet. People in most Western countries have been acculturated to view entomophagy with primitive tactics and, quite frankly, disgust. That disgust is likely triggered by fundamental questions: The size of insects in tropical places is much greater than the less temperate parts of the world, which allows for larger bugs. The bigger bugs facilitate harvests, which makes insects a more plausible source of food in areas where they are abundant. Regardless of your dietary preferences and monetary ability to buy foods you desire, it is important to be aware of circumstances around the whole world.

Realize that the food produced is not equally distributed throughout the world. Around 40 to 50 percent of the food produced in the US is never eaten, and around $1 billion a year are spent simply to dispose of food waste in this country alone. At the same time, food shortages and hunger are prevalent all around this nation, and action needs to be taken. Maybe you won’t eat a bug for dinner tonight, and maybe you won’t send pounds of food halfway across the world to help someone in need. But taking small steps forward, like considering whether to toss food waste in the garbage or choosing to compost it, can add up and make the world of a difference; those small steps can make a difference in this world.