How can our diet change to help the planet?


 Sustainability is key when thinking about how we can afford to provide for our ever growing population, which is meant to reach 10 billion by 2050, another 3 billion from today’s population. Already, we face malnutrition on a massive scale, with 20 million people having faced starvation and famine in a Sudanese crisis. This is all despite the EU throwing away 89 million tonnes of food annually. However, there are measures that can be taken to ensure we can all eat for years to come. 


Is veganism the answer?


In short, no, it’s not.  Sustainability is all about being eco-friendly, and although methane emissions would lower with reduced cattle rearing, it is all about balance. The space needed to grow vegan alternatives to milk and eggs may require larger areas of land than a herd of cows or chickens would. Of course, there is an ethical side to meat buying that consists of being animal friendly and therefore only buying free-range products.  Whilst this is far kinder to animals and therefore something I would promote, it is not a long term solution as even more forests would have to be sacrificed to make way for livestock. However, 12 percent of the worlds population relies solely on livestock production as a means of income, and to ban meat consumption would be stealing 84 million peoples livelihoods. Therefore, it is not a short term solution to ban meat. 


So, what can we do?


We need a way to provide protein to so many people, and livestock production has already been ruled out, due to its polluting properties, emitting more greenhouse gases than cars, planes and trains combined. The medicines used to treat them also seep into the soil. 


Why not try a locust or two? 


Insects are the future of food, due to their high protein levels that mean a single kilo of feed produces 12 times more cricket protein than beef protein. Insects are less expensive and would therefore be more widely available.  

With 1,900 edible insect species out there, it’s a surprise we don’t already have supermarket cicadas in Modern Europe, unlike other countries such as Japan and Malawi who treasure weaver ants and wasp larvae. It’s strange how we moved away from insect eating, considering how it would be a fundamental source of protein back in the time of the Hunter-gatherers, as shown by the Korowai tribe who still inhabit Indonesian rainforest and use their surroundings to their advantage whilst not harming it by finding maggots in rotting wood, or killing the odd wild pig. As previously mentioned, it is all about balance and not necessarily cutting out anything from your diet, but the advancement of entomophagy (eating of insects) could prove to be very beneficial in helping to recover this planet’s fragile systems.