FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Starving? The UN Wants You to Eat Insects

by ADITY SHARMA

It seems that passing ineffectual resolutions isn’t the United Nation’s only forte. The recent suggestion by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to harvest and consume insects like bees, grasshoppers, ants and beetles, completely omits an undeniable human propensity for exploitation of the environment.

So what’s the problem? People are hungry, and they’re only insects, right? As strange as it may sound, insects play an important role in keeping the forest alive. They are predators and prey, pollinate plants, eat dead trees and creatures, maintain soil fertility and regulate the biodiversity of the forest.

In order for insects to serve as a mainstream food source, they’ll have to be harvested from natural forests.

But if there’s a noticeable dip in the number of insects in a particular forest, then the biodiversity will also take a hit.

Fast-forward to the Distant Future

Harvesting insects has burgeoned into a multibillion dollar industry. But cracks in the perfect scheme have surfaced. A few multinational corporations were accused of illegally harvesting billions of beetles. They’ve denied it all, and have walked away unscathed.

Meanwhile, the UN and other purported proponents have added some unheard of insect group to the endangered list. Fundraisers to raise money for this unheard of endangered insect group are being organized across the globe. But people would much rather tune into a new show on Animal Planet. It’s called Insect Wars. Of course, it’s closely modeled on the lines of the now defunct Whale Wars. Even the lead character in Insect Wars, calls himself as the modern Paul Watson of the jungle. Let’s stay tuned to Animal Planet and cross our fingers for the outcome of the unheard of insect group.

My tree-hugging, overactive imagination has run amuck. Or has it?

The timber logging companies have amply demonstrated their propensity to leave no trade agreement intact and no specie unharmed when it comes to self-enrichment. From the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to the tropical forests in the republic of Congo irreparable damage has been taking place through illegal logging.

Then there are the oily disasters of history to think about. BP’s Gulf oil spill dumped an estimated 2.5 million gallons of oil that poisoned 572 miles of shoreline, and terminated the lives of hundreds of birds and aquatic animals. The damage to the ecosystem is still ongoing, and the oil lords haven’t learned a thing.

Surely, it all began with the innocuous idea of a little drilling here, and a little extra harvesting the cedar there. Voila! The endangered list of species and forests keeps getting longer.

A Way Out

The UN is absolutely right in asserting that food security is a growing concern. Therefore tabling solutions makes sense. But the UN should think twice, maybe thrice before suggesting invasions into endangered lands, which may end up in the hands of dubious corporate giants.

There is always an alternative. The insect industry doesn’t have to thrive. Instead, the UN could advise people to focus on utilizing indigenous plants. Moreover, a comprehensive list should be compiled of edible plants in impoverished regions of the world. Then the research should determine whether those plants can safely serve human needs, while maintaining a harmonious balance in the ecosystem.

Adity Sharma is a writer living in New York.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!
Russell Mokhiber
Save the Patients, Cut Off the Dick!
Steven M. Druker
The Deceptions of the GE Food Venture
Elliot Sperber
Clean, Green, Class War: Bill McKibben’s Shortsighted ‘War on Climate Change’
Binoy Kampmark
Claims of Exoneration: The Case of Slobodan Milošević
Walter Brasch
The Contradictions of Donald Trump
Michael Donnelly
Body Shaming Trump: Statue of Limitations
Weekend Edition
August 19, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Hillary and the War Party
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Prime Time Green
Andrew Levine
Hillary Goes With the Flow
Dave Lindorff
New York Times Shames Itself by Attacking Wikileaks’ Assange
Gary Leupp
Could a Russian-Led Coalition Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?
Conn Hallinan
Dangerous Seas: China and the USA
Joshua Frank
Richard Holbrooke and the Obama Doctrine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail