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The US cattle industry is responsible for consuming 13,000 liters of water for every kilogram of beef produced. In addition, the livestock industry presently uses 70% of the world’s agricultural land. With meat consumption expected to double between 2000 and 2050, it will require additional agricultural land more than the total area of China to meet the demand.
On average, 10 kilograms of feed is required to raise 1 kilogram of beef. The equivalent amount of feed can raise 6 kilograms of insect meat. Being that 12.9 million square kilometers of the world’s land is used for livestock, switching to insects could theoretically recover over 10 million square kilometers. Nearly 600 thousand square kilometers of Brazil’s rainforests have been destroyed since 1970, mostly to grow feed for livestock.
Whereas ground beef contains about 18% protein, cooked grasshopper is nearly 60% protein. According to UN reports, 100 grams of insects can provide more than 100% of recommended vitamins and minerals. Moreover, ground beef is 18% fat with the grasshopper only 6% fat – unsaturated fat to boot.
The recommended daily amount of protein is between 40 and 70 grams per day depending upon age, gender and body type. A 150-gram beef burger patty contains about 27 grams of protein. That means that one would need to eat 2 burgers a day to get enough protein from beef alone. These burgers would also add 54 grams of fat per day to one’s diet. It would require eating only 90 grams of grasshoppers to get the same amount of protein with only 5.4 grams of fat.
While cattle rearing is responsible for 37% of all human-induced methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that traps 23 times as much heat as carbon dioxide, raising the same amount of edible weight in insects would emit only 1.3% that of cattle.
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To make 1 kilogram of honey takes nearly 16,000 worker-bee hours. Over 33% of the US American diet is tied to the pollination of plants by bees. Their pollination contributes nearly $15 billion to the US economy each year. In 2006, nearly 50% of the US commercial bee colonies died from the mysterious colony collapse disorder (CCD).
Roughly 80% of the world’s almonds come from California and almonds rank as the leading horticultural export from the US. Since the appearance of CCD, importing bees now accounts for 20% of the production cost of almonds.
The Case For Easting Insects. CNN Eatocracy. July 2010.
Kruse, Maria. Edible Insects, Important Source of Protein in Central Africa. FAO Newsroom. November, 2004.
Price, Alethia. Eating Bugs! Manataka American Indian Council.
Guynup, Sharon and Nicolas Ruggia. For Most People, Eating Bugs Is Only Natural. National Geographic. July, 2004.
Researchers Recommend Insect Meat. Hc2d.co.uk. January, 2011.
Benson, Jonathan. Dutch Scientists Push for Bugs to Replace Meat as Food Source. Natural News. January, 2011.
Sekularac, Ivana. Save The Planet: Swap Your Steak for Bugs and Worms. Reuters. January, 2011.
Kolb, Benjamin. Eating Insects ‘Could Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions’. Your Olive Branch.Org. January, 2011.
Fruit and Nut Case. BBC Nature Inc. 2009.
Holland, Jennifer S. Colonies in Crisis. National Geographic. October, 2007. Pg. 31.