2020's: The Decade of Edible Insects
Updated: May 12
Dawn of a New Decade!
The new decade is here, and no doubt with it, a tonne of speculation about what the future holds.
Whilst 2019 proved to be an incredibly divisive year, real global unity was sparked as a result of the climate crisis. The immensely influential Greta Thunberg inspired millions to skip work and school and 'strike for the climate' in countries ranging from Finland, Nigeria and Malaysia.
The impact of these strikes is summed up by The Collins Dictionary decision to award 'climate-strike' as their word of the year. That's a pretty big deal.
Despite this mass positive energy and solidarity to protect the planet, 2020 is already off to a devastating start, as the worst bushfires in Australia's history are currently burning across all of the country's states.
The drought and exceptionally hot weather conditions are exacerbating the fires, which have already destroyed 500 million animals, burned 16 million acres of land, and have tragically killed 25 people. It is not Australia alone. Fires in California and Brazil last year devastated natural habitats and homes. The world is quite literally on fire, and climate change is to blame.
We have to wake up.
Humans must change their behaviour and work instantly to implement change, before it's too late.
But it's not all negative. This year alone, a record 350,000 people in the UK are participating in Veganuary, where a vegan lifestyle is adopted for a month. People are showing a real willingness to change and make a positive difference.
Last year, we wrote about our top steps for reducing your carbon footprint, and we can't urge you enough to go into the new year with these in the forefront of your mind.
There's one thing, in particular, that we'd like you to consider for the year ahead...
Insects are incredibly sustainable to produce, require little food and water, act as a great protein and fat source, and on top of all this, they are delicious. The UN have advocated insects as being a major sustainable food source in the future, as the environmental impact of consuming insects is significantly less than that of meat products.
Even Great British Bake Off's Prue Leith, has come out in their support. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the famed personality has predicted that by 2030, we'll all be eating insects, calling them a 'great hope for cheap protein.'
The restauranteur has sought to normalise their consumption, speaking of her childhood memories in South Africa of eating crickets and worms. Regarding our planet's future, she has urged us to put our squeamishness aside, as we can't 'afford our cultural prejudices.' Good on you Prue. We couldn't agree more.
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Additionally, Zero Waste Scotland have just released a report analysing the economic benefits of potential insect farming in Scotland, which could generate an estimated 5.4 million pounds a year for the economy.
Whilst there are currently no insect farms in Scotland, Dr William Clark, a bio-ecology specialist has speculated “Farming insects in Scotland might sound unlikely or unappetising but it could play a significant role in solving Scotland’s food waste problem and reducing our reliance on imported crops like soy for agriculture and aquaculture, which drives up the carbon emissions behind the climate crisis."
As 1.49 billion USD of food is binned in Scotland per year alone, he adds “Insect farms offer a reliable, sustainable, circular-economy solution to the protein gap."
So let's look at some statistics about the wonderful world of these edible insects.
1. Two Billion People
Two billion people eat insects every day. It's completely conventional in societies across the globe, and it is simply our Western prejudices that impact our view of bugs being unappetising.
2. Water and Land Efficiency
Insect farming is 75% more sustainable than chicken farming, and also requires 50% less water and food than livestock to be reared - making it a real win for our planet.
3. Feed The Future!
The UN's Food and Agricultural organisation have estimated that over 2 billion people do not have access to safe, regular, nutritious food, and 820 million people suffer from daily hunger. Insects are a great solution to feeding people both now & in the future, due to their rapid growth, ease of farming, and their exceptional nutritional content.
Insects contain incredibly high levels of protein, on a level comparable with beef and milk.
100g of mealworms contains 55g of protein, a significant amount considering 100g of steak only contains 26g.
In a 2010 study, it was discovered that five different insect species were much more climate-friendly than traditional livestock. One pound of mealworm protein had a greenhouse gas footprint 1% as large as a pound of beef.
6. They Taste Great!
Insects are delicious and are often considered a delicacy. Mealworms, for example, have a super mild/nutty flavour and can be used in a wide variety of cooking. Crickets on the other hand, taste like crispy chicken, or bacon.
Sounds good, right?
So truly, we urge you. If you are upset or angry about the devastating impact of climate change on the world around you and want to make a difference in this next decade, now is the time. The next ten years are going to be incredibly decisive for our planet's future.
Considering insects are also incredibly nutritious, due to their high content levels of antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, protein and fat, choosing to consume them will ultimately be a conscientious decision for your future health.
If Veganuary or Dry January isn't your style, we propose our own challenge to you. Why not rebrand 2020 as the year of the bug? Or better yet, make the 2020s the 'decade of the bug.' Your health, our Earth, and your bank account will thank you for it.
Let's make 2020 the Decade of the Bug!
By Erin banks