From National Geographic: Food for Thought

I just received my May issue of National Geographic magazine and there’s a page in the beginning with an excellent graphic showing the number of animals killed for food worldwide. You know what’s number 1? Chickens.

I can’t find the graphic anywhere online to share, but Nat. Geo. has provided a video that tells the story. Check it out. Then let me know if you’ll consider ants for dinner. There seems to be no shortage of insects in the world!


3 responses to “From National Geographic: Food for Thought

  1. I have been thinking about this for a few days, trying to formulate a good response, and I think I have one. I’ve heard this argument before, and it never quite sat right with me, though I couldn’t put my finger on why until today.

    I should start by saying that I eat ants sometimes and really like them. They are crunchy and have a surprising lemony flavor! I am waiting for grasshoppers to become more plentiful so I can try them, too.

    But my issue with this argument is that it seems to be saying that since we are overpopulated and becoming more so, we need to find more abundant food sources. But this is not a new idea; for centuries agriculture has been working on ways to produce more food to feed our growing populations. The problem is that populations don’t grow in spite of their food supplies. They grow because of them. One of the basic rules of ecology is that any population, whether it’s deer or mice or humans, will increase until its food supply won’t support any more individuals, and if the supply keeps increasing, so will the population.

    So adding a tremendous amount of biomass to our food supply such as that offered by insects might seem like a good answer to overpopulation, I think the most likely result is that doing so would only allow our population to grow until it had outstripped even the world’s huge supply of bugs.

    If we have arrived at a point where there are too many of us to easily feed, instead of finding ways to produce more food we need to ask ourselves what we did that got us to this point, and how we as a society can change our behavior so that we won’t have such a problem in the future.

    • Exactly, Nick. But how do we educate people about the drawbacks of over-producing? That seems to be the issue that is sometimes addressed, sometimes not, depending on the country or culture. I wish people would understand the load they are putting on Mother Earth by having children–especially many children. In the meantime, there are people starving in the world. It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it?
      Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comment!

    • Nick– how often do you eat ants? And where do you find them?!

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