Mealworm soup. Chile-lime cricket tacos. Charred avocado tartare with ant larvae.
In the West, edible insects have long been the domain of food adventurers, with few other takers — even as billions of people elsewhere on the planet count insects as a part of their traditional diets.
But as we explore in the Opinion Video above, a growing tribe of environmentalists, academics and entrepreneurs are arguing that edible insects must enjoy a wider acceptance to help create a more sustainable global food system and save the planet.
It’s a matter of numbers. The world’s population is booming. So, too, is agricultural production to meet the growing demand for food. Yet agriculture, particularly the production of meat, is a big driver of environmental harm.
Scientists have warned that unless we make major adjustments to the kinds of food we eat and how we produce it, we have no chance of meeting our climate goals. A change in dietary patterns, especially reduced demand for meat, would help relieve pressure on the environment and mitigate global warming.
That’s where insects come in. Though the research is still nascent, the early evidence suggests that some edible insects offer a more environmentally sustainable alternative to some conventional livestock. Insects also offer tremendous potential as pet food and a feed source for conventional livestock.
This video is the third in a series of short films we published this month examining problems with the food system. The first one explored the environmental harm of agriculture and the powerful lobby in the United States that has fought to maintain the status quo. The second exposed some ugly truths about the modern poultry industry.
Now it’s time for bugs. Whether you regard them as agents of filth or sources of nutrition, integrating more of them into your diet, this video argues, is among a suite of dietary changes that we urgently need to consider to deal with food insecurity, biodiversity loss and climate change.
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