BuzzFeed gets it wrong in piece that claims eating bugs will save us
April 13, 2022
BuzzFeed’s newest (recycled) idea to combat climate change and cruelty to animals while helping the global supply chain recover from the pandemic is for the world to create a bug-based food economy.
BuzzFeed wants you to eat “ants, beetles, and crickets are some of the nearly 2,100 bugs,” because it’s good for the planet, however unfortunate it may be for the insects themselves.
All this in an effort to give us a “more environmentally friendly alternative to eating meat and other types of animal-based products.”
For this piece, BuzzFeed teamed up with the World Economic Forum.
Since at least 2018, WEF has made bug-eating a part of its “Davos Agenda” program.
This year, WEF ramped up the rhetoric to help save the cute and cuddly, pork, beef and poultry animals that the world traditionally consumes and provided the global programmers at Davos with five reasons eating bugs “could” reduce climate change.
They say “could” likely, because no one knows exactly what will happen if suddenly the world’s mass of 8 billion people give up eating meat to eat bugs.
In the roughly 70,000 years of modern man’s existence, bugs have made up a pretty small part of people’s diets, because, who really wants to eat bugs?
But that hasn’t stopped BuzzFeed from doling out a regular heaping of bugs-in-your-diet journalism, once even predicting that future Thanksgiving Days will be filled with edible insects, not including your Uncle John.
But some experts are sounding the warning alarm, saying that cultivating insects on a large enough scale to feed masses of people could come with some unexpected downsides for those who favor entomophagy (which is the Greek way of spelling “bug-eating”).
The book “On Eating Insects: Essays, Stories and Recipes” by Joshua Evans, Roberto Flore, and Michael Bom Frøst, lays out three reasons raising bugs for food and profit may not be as easy or earth-saving as its bug boosters make out.
First, the procurement of bugs — either wild or cultivated — may not be sustainable, Forbes reported in a summary of the work.
Next, we frankly don’t know enough about the impact that sustained bug-eating and the farming necessary to make it a food supply will have on the environment.
“For instance, farmed insects may be fed on a substrate with its own complicated sustainability status – shown by the example of the giant water bug in Thailand, which requires additional resource use for the farming of its amphibian prey,” Forbes wrote on small scale bug farming in Thailand.
And finally, bugs for the consumer market aren’t kept under a rock in a grocery store. They need considerable processing to get to the consumer in an edible- and tasty- form and that could use a lot more energy than the entomophagy fans have admitted.
Plus, in a world that says that lobsters are sentient beings and can’t be boiled alive, are crickets any different?
In a 2016 article promoting bug-eating, BuzzFeed called Crickets the “new lobster,” meaning that crickets are a tasteful delicacy that should be relished like lobsters are.
In the end, the laws of physics still apply to bug-eating in the same way that they apply to fossil fuels. It’s a zero-sum game.
Sure, the sun, like bugs, is an abundant source of “free” energy. But no one as yet has found a way to accumulate that energy as efficiently as fossil fuels do — or chickens do scratching for bugs.
Both are just concentrated forms of energy that come in a more convenient and attractive package than bugs do.