Save the planet … eat bugs!

This was the long and short message of a recent article posted at wired.com — a feature story that touted the consumption of those lovely critters we typically swat as being a key to improving our environment. O.K., admittedly the authors weren’t saying it’ll “save the planet” per se, but at least lemurs – you know, those cutesy monkey-like critters from Africa’s Madagascar.

According to the article, conservationists and researchers have “spent the last few years developing a program to encourage the people of Madagascar to re-embrace bugs as a source of protein. That in turn could relieve pressure on endangered lemurs, which hunters target for bushmeat.”

Thus, the simple message is: If the good folks of Madagascar can just suck it up and eat more bugs, like they used to before they went all lemur meat crazy, there will be a lot more of these animals jumping about in the trees overtop their heads.

O.K., call me simple, but to my way of thinking the solution seems rather obvious: Instead of putting lemurs in the cooking pot, how about trying something different (and not endangered) like, say, cattle, pigs and chickens? Nope. Silly me. The Greens have what they believe is the perfect solution. Eat bugs.

At the risk of being a Debbie-downer, this whole idea seems like a stretch. I’m not sure that short of a gun to the head – especially in the developed West – most people will go rushing to their local diners for caterpillars, ants, and crickets. And with all the modern conservation techniques that have been used to rescue other animals – like bison, alligators, elephants and whales — there’s clearly better ways to protect lemurs in Madagascar.

Of course, I do remember as a kid eating chocolate covered ants. They were o.k. But I only did that to impress the other young guys that I was cool. Once I started dating, it somehow dropped off my menu list.

I also know from doing CFACT work in Uganda, grasshoppers actually taste kind of good – especially fried up in some oil. The natives there like them a lot.

That said, it’s unlikely that bugs will be the preference of most, especially if another option is a nice Rib Eye. The author of the wired.com article claims that the locals frequently did, in the past (and still in rural areas today), eat bugs. However, he then goes on to remark that this was typically done “in times of need.”

What makes this article a bit of an eye-roller is that it isn’t really about just touting the wonders of eating bugs, it’s about replacing “red meat,” a typical target of the Green Left. To them, red meat is about as big of an environmental villain as there is (no disrespect to plastic straws).

Why? Because red meat naturally, requires cows – and as every environmentally-correct person knows bovine farts are responsible for creating a climate catastrophe. Cows also drink a lot of water and need space to roam about – space which could be used for something much more ecologically important – like either lemurs in Madagascar or, even better yet, giant solar or wind farms that can chew up miles of wildlife habitat over here.

This attack on red meat has gotten a bit crazy. Recently a member of the British Parliament actually wanted to tax red meat eaters to save the planet from climate change. When I heard about this British proposal being discussed, I thought it was just a bit over-the-top. But apparently it doesn’t go far enough. Now they want us … to eat bugs.

Let’s hope this insect diet idea gets stepped on before it crawls out any further, and that the good people of Madagascar have the good sense to pursue a more scientific approach to saving their lemurs.

Author

  • Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.