In this file:
· Six Legs Better than Four: Why you Should Eat Insects
· Climate change could force the world to say goodbye to cows
Six Legs Better than Four: Why you Should Eat Insects
Atticus Albright, The Oxford Student
3rd December 2018
Oxford's biggest student newspaper
When confronted with the question “Would you eat insects?” the average student shudders in disgust, memories of bush tucker trials flashing through their head. Indeed, most people in the West are reluctant to stray far from the pork, beef and chicken we are accustomed to – treating less conventional protein sources with disgust. However, why should this be the case?
The custom of entomophagy or consuming insects is well established in other areas of the globe and in many cases insects are considered a rare treat to a mostly meat free diet. When considering if our modern western diets could incorporate this new potential food source or merely continue to reject them, I would argue that, given our current state of protein production, we may soon be forced to do so. The debate and surrounding literature considering livestock rearing to satiate our craving for meat is far too large to cover in this article, however, the basic consensus is that the current scenario is unsustainable and so an alternative is rapidly required. The contributing factors to this argument can loosely be split into 3 main areas: the vast land area required to raise the billions of cows, pigs and chickens required each year (consequently, the single largest factor contributing to deforestation is the beef industry); the resulting greenhouse emissions from these animals-many of which contain methanogenic archaea within their digestive systems (with a single cow producing well over 100 litres of methane a day); and the resource use resulting from the inefficiency of production. It takes around 2Kg of fishmeal to produce 1Kg of the commonly raised species of fish in aquaculture.
Consequently, it must be asked if insects could provide an alternative, more sustainable, scenario? This could well be the case given the small size and fast growth rate of insects, making them a suitable candidate for industrial agriculture. For instance, mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) production requires 13 times less space than an equivalent beef farm. Moreover, they directly produce far less greenhouse gases, for example...
Climate change could force the world to say goodbye to cows
by John Siciliano, Washington Examiner
December 04, 2018
In the 1973 sci-fi classic "Soylent Green," Charlton Heston's character faces a dystopian future in which a protein made from plankton is grown in test tubes to sustain an overpopulated Earth.
A new National Academies of Sciences study from 18 top scientists suggests that a similar cultured protein will be needed in the not-too-distant future to deal with the problems of population growth and climate change.
The new Department of Energy-funded study on environmental engineering released Monday doesn't suggest that switching the global diet to a lab-made protein will lead to the horrifying climax of "Soylent Green", but it does suggest that beef will have to be made more scarce.
The report finds that livestock farming could be responsible for as much as 14.5 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, which are blamed for raising the temperature of the Earth. Cattle alone is responsible for almost two-thirds of that 14.5 percent, the study says.
Beef and dairy farming also require far more water per unit of protein produced compared to plant-based protein equivalents, the study says.
The study estimates that global meat production could grow as much as 12 percent by 2026 due to population growth and increasing demand due to rising standards of living in lower- and middle-income countries.
The environmental effects of this increase could be reduced by shifting global dietary patterns that de-emphasize animal-based protein, especially beef.
Not unlike "Soylent Green," the National Academies report says a variety of meatless protein products, including protein products grown from "animal and plant tissue cells in culture, are becoming available."
If the products can be affordably produced at scale and be accepted by consumers, "they could reduce the demand for livestock, thereby decreasing the land, energy, and water requirements of animal-sourced protein and its associated environmental impacts while expanding food availability," the report says.
Some estimates show that such dietary changes could allow 30 percent more people to get fed with the same agricultural land and crop patterns.
Conservation groups and others will be urging changes to the agriculture industry to curb emissions at this week's United Nations climate meeting where the future of the Paris climate accord will be discussed.
It is something that has been difficult for some governments to approach, but needs to be considered to keep the Earth from rising 1.5 degrees over the next decade, Dr. Nils A. Rokke, executive vice president of sustainability at Scandinavia's largest research institute called SINTEF, told the Washington Examiner from Norway...