The argument is simple: we NEED crickets.
The world’s population is growing at rapid speeds and the climate’s temperature is only getting warmer. That said, what if we told you that crickets are the answer we’ve been looking for?
Now, we’re not saying crickets are going to come flying in wearing heroic red capes and Clark Kent glasses and solve all our problems. But utilizing crickets as a primary source for protein can help with global warming as well as food shortage we may be facing in the future.
According to the United States Census Bureau, our global population headcount is currently at over 7 billion and the demand for meat and protein hasn’t exactly started dwindling. In fact, is growing about as fast as our population. OurWorldData.org states that, over the past 50 years, meat production has more than quadrupled and that the world now produces more than 320 million tonnes each year.
This high demand for cows, pigs, chickens and the like–which take up considerable resources to raise and harvest (for lack of a better term)–can have “damaging environmental consequences,” according to a 2013 report by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Something as seemingly minor as animal waste actually releases ammonia, a pollutant that can affect soil and water quality.
It’s a vicious cycle; more people demanding more meat which demands more resources that hurt our climate. And, unfortunately, there isn’t always enough of this meat to go around. This is why that same FAO report urges the increased consumption of insect proteins as a “more sustainable alternative.”
Insects are not only packed with rich nutrients (see my blog post about The Heath Benefits of Eating Crickets), they are also much more environmentally friendly to raise and, well, “harvest” than typical livestock. Compared with cows, pigs, or chickens, crickets require “a fraction of the land, water, and food, and produce less greenhouse gases and ammonia,” as reported by NBC News.
“I think the biggest selling point of insects is their efficiency,” said biochemist and molecular biologist Aaron Dossey in an interview with NBC. Dossey is also the founder of All Things Bugs, a research and manufacturing company that produces Griopro cricket powder. “They’re also raised with no antibiotics or steroids, so they’re attractive for the health-conscious.”
FAO also reports that crickets are 12 times more efficient than cattle in converting feed to edible meat, at least four times more efficient than pigs, and twice as efficient as chickens. Plus, they’re everywhere! You would be hard-pressed to find a place where crickets aren’t in ample supply.
If you need a good reason to try something new and make crickets a top-shelf protein choice in your daily dining habits, what better reason is there than saving the planet?