Sunday, May 23, 2010

Grossest Solution to Feeding the World

There are plenty of doomsayers out there predicting the coming global food crisis. They suggest the next six billion will require huge sacrifices to feed. They seem to forget the fact that the previous explosion of population in the last 150 years coincided more selection and less sacrifice. Difficult prediction aside, there have been many interesting suggestions on what changes will be required, from weekday vegetarianism to cap-and-trade for fishing. But here is perhaps the grossest (and most interesting) solution I've heard, eat bugs:
"They can’t give us pandemics. So the mass production of insects—farm insects—really easy. There’s no cricket flu on par with avian flu or swine flu or E. coli."

And then there’s this: "Look, crickets are not better than beef in every category, just most of them."

Gracer says a bowl of grasshoppers has more vitamins than beef and is lower in fat—and uses far fewer resources to produce. Our disgust for insects is just cultural


  1. It's not that we forget the agricultural revolution, it's that we doubt the ability of science and technology to fill the gaps again as quickly as it did last time. The last revolution was due mostly to the introduction of machines and petrochemical-based fertilizers and pesticides. Those are going to become more and more expensive, driving up the cost of food. Maybe we'll come up with a cheap solution, but maybe we won't. In some ways, I hope we don't. The planet already has too many people on it anyway consuming too many resources and trashing ecosystems. We need to do a better job of feeding the people already here before we try to make more people. Birth control ftw.

  2. This is all a guess, but I'm hopeful that if we could feed billions with the technology in the 1950's, we can feed tens of billions with the technology of the 2050's.

    Also, as I've said many times, I think a globally shrinking population (like in Europe) will be more of a problem than overpopulation.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.