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Why Eating Insects Is Good For The Environment: 5 Reasons (2023)

Updated: Jan 16


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The consumption of insects presents a compelling solution to the environmental challenges posed by traditional livestock farming. Through efficient resource utilization, reduced land requirements, lower water footprint, decreased greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation of deforestation, and biodiversity preservation, eating insects offers a sustainable alternative with significant environmental benefits.


Bugs on your plate might sound strange at first, but trust us, it's a game-changer for the environment. The idea of chowing down on insects as a sustainable food source has been gaining traction lately, and with good reason.


In this article, we'll dive into the ecological benefits of eating insects, back it up with some jaw-dropping stats and legit references, and show you why embracing entomophagy (that's just a fancy word for insect consumption) is the coolest thing you can do for our planet. Here are 5 reasons why eating insects can benefit the planet.


1. Efficient resource utilization

crickets farmed

Believe it or not, insects are incredibly efficient at turning feed into edible goodness. According to a study in PLOS ONE, crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and even two times less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein.


Indeed, not only cricket but insects, in general, have a remarkable food conversion ratio, often outperforming traditional livestock. On average, insects require significantly less feed compared to conventional farm animals to produce the same amount of edible biomass.


They can convert feed into body mass at a rate of 2 to 10 times more efficiently than cattle, pigs, or chickens. This high conversion efficiency is due to insects' efficient digestive systems and ability to utilize a wide range of organic materials as feed, including agricultural by-products and food waste.


2. Reduced land requirements

cricket farm small scale

Instead of clearing vast land areas for raising livestock, we can cultivate insects on a much smaller scale. They're super versatile and can even be fed with organic waste products.


The main advantage of insects in terms of required land is that they can be easily be farmed vertically. Insect vertical farming involves stacking layers of insect habitats on top of each other to maximize production in a smaller footprint. This method utilizes controlled environments and efficient lighting systems to optimize insect growth and reproduction, making it a sustainable and space-efficient approach to insect farming.



3. Lower water footprint

field being watered

Water scarcity is no joke, and agriculture is a major culprit. But here's where insects come to the rescue. They guzzle way less water compared to conventional livestock.


Indeed, insects require less water to be farmed compared to traditional livestock primarily due to their efficient physiological systems. They have a lower metabolic rate and lower water requirements for maintaining their body functions.


Additionally, insect farming methods such as vertical farming and controlled environments allow for precise water management, minimizing water loss through evaporation or runoff. Furthermore, insects can obtain a significant portion of their moisture needs from what they are fed, reducing the additional water needed for hydration.



4. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions

Livestock farming is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which is bad news for our climate. But here's where the bug buffet shines again. Insects emit way fewer greenhouse gases due to their smaller size, shorter lifespan, and more efficient digestion.


5. Mitigating deforestation

forest

Cutting down forests to make way for agriculture, especially livestock farming, is a major bummer for biodiversity.


But guess what? Embracing insect consumption can help save the day. As previously explained, insects can be farmed using vertical methods or even in urban areas, requiring way less land compared to traditional livestock. That means we can satisfy our hunger without bulldozing our beautiful forests.


Wrap up

Studies have demonstrated it more than once: insects require fewer resources to produce the same amount of protein, resulting in reduced environmental impact.


As we strive for a more sustainable future, embracing insect consumption can play a vital role in promoting ecological balance, conserving resources, and mitigating climate change.


By broadening our culinary horizons and considering insects as a viable food source, we can take a significant step towards building a more sustainable and resilient planet.



cooked crickets on market

References

Oonincx et al., 2010. Environmental impact of the production of mealworms as a protein source for humans - a life cycle assessment. PLOS ONE, 5(12).

van Huis et al., 2013. Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.


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