Theoretical Tweet: The ANGER and STRENGTH of one far outweighs the hate of many others. Tess Asplund, I am proud to live on the same planet as you.
Moisescu, C. (2016, May 5). Lone woman defies neo-Nazi march: ‘I was angry’ Retrieved May 06, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/05/europe/swedish-protest-nazis-woman/index.html
- (2016, May 4). Entomophagy Won’t Kill You: You’re Already Eating Bugs. Retrieved May 6, 2016, from https://twitter.com/4entoFOOD/status/727770036211953665
Entomophagy for Change
Being raised in western civilization, the farming industry is a natural part of our economy, it is something we don’t even question. However, can an industry as large as livestock production really have no drawbacks, are there no other solutions? According to van Huis (2011), greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production make up for about 18% of total human induced global emissions. The rearing of macro-livestock (cows, pigs, chickens, etc.) occupies one third of the Earth’s ice-free land surface, and meat consumption is expected to double in the next 40 years as people globally get wealthier (Mosley, 2014).
One of the biggest issues is cattle, or more precisely a cow’s diet. A cow is able to live on a diet of grass alone through a process called enteric fermentation, a digestive process that breaks down carbohydrates by microorganisms into simple molecules for absorption into the bloodstream of an animal. When the microbes break down the grass they produce methane gas that the cow then releases. (van Huis, 2011). A single cow can release 500 liters of methane each day, and with there being 1.5 billion cattle in the world, that’s roughly 750 billion liters of methane being released into the atmosphere every day (Mosley, 2014). That coupled with the fact that methane is 25 times more potent then carbon dioxide, is one of the main reasons that alternatives for macro-livestock are needed.
There are a few ways in which we could try to limit the amount of emissions produced by cattle; one such way is to change their diet to something that will produce less methane, another option is to choose a different kind of meat to eat, chickens and pigs produce far less emissions then cattle. The best strategy is to find another source of animal protein, which leads to the idea of entomophagy, or the consumption of insects by humans.
The idea of entomophagy is an age-old phenomenon as proved by archeological evidence and fossilized feces. However, the consumption of insects has been inhibited in western cultures due in large part to the advent of organized religions that allowed only certain meats to be eaten. As well as the impact of a globalizing fast-food culture; creating a large demand for macro-livestock, limiting the want for more sustainable substitutes such as entomophagy (Premalatha, Abbasi, Abbasi, & Abbasi, 2011).
Insects are poikilothermic, meaning they spend much less amounts of food energy and nutrients than macro-livestock. Plus they are much more efficient at transforming phytomass (plant biomass) into zoomass (animal biomass), far more animal protein is produced per kilogram of phytomass consumed by insects than their macro-livestock counterparts (Premalatha et al., 2011). Another advantage that insects have over macro-livestock, in terms of entomophagy, is that they have much higher fecundity and growth rates. Meaning that each individual has the ability to produce thousands of offspring as compared to just a few in conventional livestock, and these insect offspring reach adulthood in a matter of days compared to months for fowl or years for cattle (Premalatha et al., 2011).
Ultimately the livestock industry is unsustainable; it takes up too much space on our planet (approximately 1/3rd), the amount of meat produced is far less than desirable, and the environmental impacts are disastrous. Entomophagy is a great solution, however it is not the only one; going into the future it is important to recognize the limitations of our current system, and make changes to negate them.
Mosley, M., Dr. (2014, August 20). Can eating meat be eco-friendly? – BBC News. Retrieved January 20, 2016, from http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28858289
Premalatha, M., Abbasi, T., Abbasi, T., & Abbasi, S. A. (2011). Energy-efficient food production to reduce global warming and ecodegradation : The use of edible insects. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15(9), 4357–4360. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2011.07.115
van Huis, A. (2011). Potential of Insects as Food and Feed in Assuring Food Security. Annual Review of Entomology, 58, 120928130709004. http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ento-120811-153704
During this assignment I learned a few things but it started with the tweet. I have never really been into twitter and this assignment helped to push me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to create a tweet both powerful and bold. I think writing tweets can be simple but actually writing something that leaves an impression is hard. I also learned how difficult it is to write from a journalistic perspective because I am used to writing opinion pieces or research papers. Overall, I enjoyed this assignment because it really pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to write from a perspective that I am not used to.