This week, all the noisy cicadas in our neighborhood were dying. I had to step around the bodies littered everywhere while walking my dog. She would occasionally stop and gobble one up – which reminded me of an article I read months ago.
The article in Discovery.com said the ultimate way to be green and keep feeding our growing world population is by eating bugs. Ew!
I have a pretty low tolerance for bugs. Half of them scare me and the other half gross me out. I read the story, felt queasy, and pretended that it didn’t make any sense.
But as I’ve been walking through cicada-land lately, my mind went back to the article, which pointed out that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization predicts there will be nine billion people on the planet by 2050 and that agricultural land around the world is already under stress.
That means there are too many people and, pretty soon, we’ll have trouble raising enough animals to eat (think about what you’ve read already about giant pig farms and the lakes full of waste they produce). This is a good point, and something that worries me when I think about where we’re headed in the near future. Think about how high grocery prices are now, and then consider how we’ll manage to keep feeding everyone three square meals every day.
Bugs are high in protein, low in fat and efficient to cultivate (it takes 10 kilograms of feed yields six to eight kilograms of insect meat compared to one kilogram of beef), according to research done at Wageningen University in the central Netherlands that’s discussed in the story.
Insects are abundant, produce less greenhouse gas and manure, and don’t transfer any diseases (when eaten) that can mutate into a dangerous human form, say the researchers.
In theory, this sounds like a great idea. The researchers point to westerners (including yours truly) who they say are too squeamish about eating bugs. I know I would have a huge problem eating them, even if you dressed them up in a burger – I’ve squished hundreds of little creepy crawlies in my life, and that is exactly the image that would be in my mind while eating a bug burger.
But times change, and we need to change with them. Our current eating habits aren’t sustainable if the population gets much bigger, and I certainly don’t see westerners ready to embrace population growth measures.
I was thinking about all this on my most recent walk this morning, as I gingerly stepped around cicadas. I bent down and forced myself to touch one. Its beady red eyeball looked up at me, very unappetizingly. Maybe if I dipped him in chocolate, he’d go down easier. Sigh.
Tip and website for the week:
Check out this disturbing slideshow of how long it takes a McDonald’s hamburger meal to decompose. Wow. Ground beef spoils in my fridge if we don’t eat it within a few days.