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LEFT WONDERING: Will Eating Bugs Save The World — Or Doom It?

Jan 17, 2023 Aditi Ramaswami
Plus, how you can boost the ethics of your 401(k).
LEFT WONDERING: Will Eating Bugs Save The World — Or Doom It?
Monica Martinez sorts mealworms prior to baking them in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Welcome back to Left Wondering, our advice column for paid supporting subscribers on how to live your values during late capitalism. This is a place to raise your big existential questions, petty beefs, lifestyle questions, and everything in between. The incomparable Kate Aronoff has stepped back from the project to focus on her climate reporting, and we wish her the best. Now I will be taking a stab at it, since I’m a deeply curious Lever writer and editor with a penchant for hunting down answers to seemingly unanswerable questions.

So send your questions LeftWondering@levernews.com and I'll do my damnedest to help us all figure out how to best live our values. Creative pseudonyms are encouraged.


Dear Left Wondering,

I’ve read that consuming protein from insect powder instead of eating livestock could help reduce global warming. At the same time, I’ve read that global warming is causing a significant reduction in insect populations. That really bugs me.

Sincerely,

Bugged for Breakfast


Dear Bugged for Breakfast,

With population growth predicted to surpass current food production by 2050, quandaries about how we should sustain ourselves will become all the more pressing. So what better place to start than by trying to answer the question: Is it ethical to eat insects, or could doing so exacerbate the mass extinction of bugs?

Entomophagy, or the consumption of insects as food, can be a protein-rich alternative to livestock meat, and might actually generate more health benefits. Of the more than 2,000 species of edible insects worldwide, at least three — crickets, honey bees, and mealworms — have similar or better nutritional value than beef and chicken.

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