Insects are a common food source in the developing world. Will climate change soon force industrialized nations to follow suit?
Raising enough pigs, cows, and chickens to feed a rapidly growing world is taking its toll on the planet. Not only does factory farming contribute to soil depletion and water pollution, it produces a massive amount of greenhouse gases that are speeding up the effects of climate change.
In a recent study published in PLoS ONE suggests that in the future, "insects could serve as an environmentally-friendly alternative for the production of animal protein with respect to GHG and NH3 emissions."
It's hard to make eating bugs sound appetizing when we've been programmed to assume that they are dirty pests that need to be eliminated.
Hotlix, a California company that claims to be the "original edible insect candy creator" is making headlines by putting worms, crickets, ants and other bugs into outrageous confections that make people cringe with delight.
Among other things, the company offers watermelon, tequila, and orange flavored Worm suckers; ribbon-style toffee-flavored candy with insects and fern trapped inside that's meant to look like fossilized amber; and Cricket Snax in Salt n' Vinegar, Bacon & Cheddar Cheese, and Sour Cream & Onion flavors to satisfy your urge for crunch.
According to the study's lead author, an entomologist from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, 80 percent of the world's population eats insects, yet they are shunned in the cuisine of most developed countries (SciDev.net). Nurturing insects, rather than livestock, as a source of protein could be an easy and affordable way to bolster the global food supply as well as reduce the amount of GHG emissions attributed to agriculture (Care2).
If you'd like to keep bugs in the garden and not between your hamburger buns, it might be time to make more responsible choices about the way you eat, live and play...
Top Image Credit: Flickr - azrainman, Other Images: Hotlix