Ethan A. Huff
January 16, 2011
Researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands say that insects produce far less greenhouse gases than cattle and pigs do, and would thus be a viable alternative to eating meat. Published in the journal PLoS ONE, the study found that pigs, for instance, produce up to one hundred times more greenhouse gases than the equivalent weight of mealworms.
Researchers compared the greenhouse gas emissions of mealworms, crickets, locusts and pigs. Particularly with methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), the insects produced far lower emissions than pigs did overall. Ammonia emissions, which can pollute groundwater supplies, were also lower among insects compared to cattle.
Researchers did not verify that actually producing insect protein for human consumption is as environmentally-friendly as producing cattle and pig protein, pound for pound. So while the idea may sound beneficial in theory, it is unknown whether or not it would work in real life.
There was also no clarification about how the cattle and pigs used in the study were raised. Studies have shown that conventional feedlot raising methods are highly toxic to the environment, while traditional, pasture-based methods of raising animals can actually replenish environmental health (http://www.naturalnews.com/028182_g…).
While some scientists insist that elevated levels of man-made greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) are getting trapped in the atmosphere and causing global climate change, other scientists say that the sun is the true culprit, and that cyclical climate change is completely normal (http://www.sciencedaily.com/release…). This topic remains hotly debated.
As far as plants are concerned, CO2 is vital for life. Plants need CO2 in order to survive, and when they take in CO2, they release oxygen for humans and other mammals to breathe (http://www.populartechnology.net/20…).
Reducing pollution and developing cleaner methods of living are both worthy causes in protecting environmental health, but feeding insects and bugs to humans as a way to be more “green” isn’t likely to go over very well with the population. How would you like your Chicken McBuggets served up today?
Sources for this story include: