The New American
by R. Cort Kirkwood
The environuts are using the emergence of Brood X cicadas as the latest occasion to champion the human consumption of insects.
CBS and the New York Times offered contributions to cicada-cuisine literature, a thin disguise for the mainstream media to continue pushing a daffy idea it’s been advancing for some time.
Raising livestock for human consumption raises the level of greenhouse gases, so humans must start consuming something else to save the planet.
That something is bugs.
Locusts on a Plate
“Jessica Fanzo, a professor of food policy and ethics at Johns Hopkins University, told CBS on Friday that the insects are ‘really important’ and are the sign of an ‘incredible moment,’” the network reported.
That moment is getting over the “ick factor” and chowing down on a big plate of Brood X delectables. After all, CBS assured readers, “in Mexico, many eat grasshoppers; in Thailand, crickets; and in Kenya, termites.”
[It’s] really common around the world to eat insects seasonally, for their taste, for their nutritional importance. And even here in the United States, some Native American populations consumed cicadas in times of hardship, when their land was taken from them and they faced starvation. For some Native American populations, these foods have a historical importance for their survival. But it’s all about what you’re used to.
True enough. Most Americans aren’t accustomed to eating bugs, precisely because they aren’t Thais, Kenyans, or Mexicans, but that obvious observation aside, then came the inevitable. Eating bugs is “good for the environment.”
As the planet warms due to climate change, we need to think about our diets. Food systems, the way we produce food, the way we move food around the world, is contributing to 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That is significant. … We can change the way we produce food.
For its part, the Times featured the culinary delights of a “sustainable” sushi chef of whom you’ve been blissfully unaware. His name is Bun Lai.
Reported the Times:
For Bun Lai, cicadas are mesmerizing to eat, their sweet, bitter flavor reminiscent of walnuts, chestnuts and adzuki beans, and their gently crunchy exterior giving way to creaminess, like a soft shell crab.
Every technique for cooking them “brings out different tones and shades,” he said.
Most Americans don’t know it, but people the world over enjoy locust treats. At least that’s what Bun Lai says. Insects are just tiny crabs and lobsters.
Years-long Propaganda Campaign
But again, the arrival of the cicadas merely provided the excuse to continue a propaganda campaign that began long ago, with intermittent installments to remind the masses they had better start consuming masses of insects, lest the Big Blue Marble be destroyed.
In February, exhorting readers to enjoy crickets, Time magazine explained that “demand for animal protein in particular is increasing the strain on the environment: 80% of the world’s farmland is used to raise and feed livestock, even though animals only account for 18% of global calorie consumption.”
Decreasing meat production, says the report, would remove pressure to expand livestock operations while freeing up existing land to restore native ecosystems and increase biodiversity.
Message: Eat bugs.
In 2019, the Washington Post explained that eating insects was, for some, a New Year’s resolution “for a growing number of people.… Generally, people say they do it for their health and to try to save the planet.”
The Post did not define what “growing number of people” meant, a sure sign of a bogus “trend” story.
In 2018, the Times pondered a question few have ever asked: “Why Aren’t We Eating More Insects?” Obvious answer: Because civilized people do not eat bugs.
The Times followed that headlining question with a revolting description of how to consume Japanese giant hornets.
Aside from the dubious claim that eating insects will “save the planet,” the eat-bugs propaganda campaign typically explains that tribal people have always eaten insects, so we should, too.
Nature offered this in 2013:
Native American tribes, for instance, had a long history of eating insects.… Some indigenous groups in sub-Saharan Africa were similarly afflicted — and much more recently too. In the village of Sanambele in Mali, children routinely hunt and eat grasshoppers as snack food.
The writer neglected to remind readers that “Native American tribes” were Stone-Age primitives who in some cases were also cannibals, and the tribes of Mali aren’t exactly an advanced civilization. Following Nature’s logic, we should eat one another. That should cut down on greenhouse gases, too.
As for the dangers of scarfing down a plate of crickets, including allergens and enteral microbes, Nature assured readers not to worry. You eat them when you consume other foods because they contain “insect fragments.”
So the message is the same: Eat bugs.
The answer this message deserves: We’ll pass.