photo by Jayna (Flickr Creative Commons)

As an alternative to cutting meat consumption in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is considering the promotion of insects as a food source.

The idea comes from a UN policy paper by a Belgian scientist at the University of Wageningen named Arnold Van Huis, who points out that most of the world already eats insects. In meat-rich Western diets – which are growing throughout the rest of the world and thereby causing emissions to increase – eating insects is somewhat taboo, but eating shrimp, which are very similar to insects, is considered OK.

From an article in the Guardian:

The raising of livestock such as cows, pigs and sheep occupies two-thirds of the world’s farmland and generates 20% of all the greenhouse gases driving global warming. As a result, the United Nations and senior figures want to reduce the amount of meat we eat and the search is on for alternatives.

Van Huis’ research shows that insect farming would produce far less greenhouse gas emissions than livestock farming.

One idea to make insects more palatable to Western tastes is grinding them into patties. Bug burger, anyone?

I didn’t think so. Let’s get back to that cutting meat consumption and eating more vegetables thing.

Meanwhile, in a slightly ironic twist, an invasive Asian beetle has been spotted on he grounds of a primary school in the UK and there are fears that if more are found they could threaten native tree populations.

You see, the Citrus Longhorn Beetle loves to eat British shrubs and trees including oak.

From a report in the Independent:

The spokesman said a range of deciduous trees and shrubs can be hosts, although all UK findings so far have been on Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).

If only the beetles were considered palatable. Then they could be hunted and eaten on the spot to prevent any infestation.