Garlic, garlic, garlic. I love garlic. But will garlic help us to tackle climate change? It seems like a joke but it’s not—at all. Where should we start? Let’s try this way. Cattle are a gigantic source of methane. If we imagined them as a country, they would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases¹!
On your mark, get set, go. First, second, third, last lap. China moved back to the front, followed closely by United States and Republic of Cattle: now the three runners at the head of the race. And India? Not even close. China, United States and Republic of Cattle; they made it to the finishing line. What a race we saw—the crowd roaring in excitement! Now, I can visualize an athletic cow on the podium with arms raised in victory celebrating with the other 1.468 billion bovines that are in the world. Unfortunately for us, not a positioning to be really proud of.
And garlic? Methane is a major contributor to climate change and one of the most harmful greenhouse gases. The thousands of million bovines burp and fart methane at full speed. Guess what? Garlic could be a promising ally in reducing these emissions. A Swiss company, Mootral, found out that integrating cow’s regular diet with compounds from garlic, citrus and other additives makes cattle burp and fart less methane³.
That’s amazing but, will garlic solve all our problems? Unluckily for us, not! Cattle have already a dreadful impact and if the demand will continue to rise at this rate we won’t keep pace with it. One-third of the planet’s arable land is already occupied by livestock feed crop cultivation⁴. According to FAO report, each year, 13 billion hectares of forest area are lost due to land conversion for agricultural uses as pastures or cropland, for both food and livestock feed crop production. This has detrimental effects on regional water availability, soil fertility, biodiversity and climate change. Furthermore, 20 per cent of the world grasslands are degraded; this trend is increasing, mainly due to intensified animal density per area⁵.
It’s actually really good said Angelina Jolie while munching on black scorpion with her kids.
Are edible insects the silver bullet? We are not Nostradamus, and we don’t have a definitive answer for this. Surely, edible insects could be a part of the solution. What we really need is to put in place several viable alternatives at the same time and take a good look at our dietary habits by changing some of them. Without a doubt reducing our meat consumption would be a forward-looking choice! Insects should become a staple of people’s diets around the world as an environmentally friendly alternative to meat, according to a report by the UK government’s waste agency ⁶. Why? We have a list the would last longer than the entire Games of Thrones saga. Let’s stick with these two good reasons —check this out for more.
Water consumption. Crickets require the 0,05% of the water that cows do to produce the same amount of proteins.
Land usage. On average, 200sqm of land are used to produce 1kg of beef. For insects, 15sqm is enough. Yes, bugs have superpowers!
Persuading consumers to overcome “the yuck factor” will be a key issue, says the report by Wrap (4). Yes, Sir! We are here to help! Fancy to find the right way to munch on your huge fried tarantula for dinner? Or would be easier to try something is not competing with your Halloween decorations? We see a promising future for edible insects only if they look and taste great and if they succeed in being considered as everyday foods. That’s the way we will stop considering them as an extravagant fad. At Crické, the answer has been: heaps of crunchy crackers! High-protein cricket powder is well-rounded and can be used for creating several different products, such as our healthy insect-based snacks. By including edible insects on their menus others, like top chefs, have already pioneered the practice of insect-eating taking them to the next level. Do you remember Rene Redzepi’s prawns, topped with tiny black ants? If not, watch this. After potatoes, tomatoes, cocoa and coffee beans, lobsters and sushi, maybe the time to tick off edible insects on our taboo list has come!
Hurray for another meat-quality, sustainable protein ready to step into our diet.
(1) UNFCC, European Commission, UNFAO
(2) Gates B., Climate change and the 75% problem, 2018, Gates Notes.
(3) Satariano A., The Business of Burps: Scientists Smell Profit in Cow Emissions, 2020, New York Times.
(4) Bland A., Is the Livestock Industry Destroying the Planet?, 2012, Smithsonian Magazine.
(5) Livestock and Landscape, 2012, FAO.
(6) Howard E., Insects should be part of a sustainable diet in future, 2015, The Guardian.