The raising of livestock consumes two-thirds of the planet’s farmland, and is a major source of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, tons of edible, sustainable protein swarms all around us, free for the taking. In a new policy paper being considered by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Belgian entomologist Arnold van Huis makes the sensible recommendation that the western world eat more insects.
Farming edible insects like mealworms and crickets would produce far less greenhouse gas — 10 times less methane and 100 times less nitrous oxide — than the large mammals we currently farm. Insects are metabolically much more efficient, which makes them far cheaper to feed and raise; and, since they’re so biologically different from humans, they are less subject to contagious disease scares like mad cow. They are high in protein and calcium, and, with over 1,000 edible species, offer plenty of delicious variety.
Protein is 15% of energy in a healthy diet. What about the other 85%?
True, a few mealworms might make an apple more nutritious. But modern diets are deficient in saturated and monounsaturated fat, not protein.
Is inexpensive protein so dear, or an unchanged climate so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of fatty foods and health? I know not what insects the UN may eat. But as for me, give me steak, or give me fasting!