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Kofi Annan: Eat Bugs To Stop Global Warming

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan wants you to eat more insects. Why? It’s better for the environment and your health, he argues.

“Keeping meat consumption to levels recommended by health authorities would lower emissions and reduce heart disease, cancer, and other diseases,” Annan told The Guardian Sunday.

“And of course there are alternative sources of protein. For example, raising insects as an animal protein source,” Annan said. “Insects have a very good conversion rate from feed to meat. They make up part of the diet of two billion people and are commonly eaten in many parts of the world.”

“Eating insects is good for the environment and balanced diets,” Annan said.

In December, U.N. delegates are expected to hash out a successor to the now-expire Kyoto Protocol at this year’s United Nations climate summit in Paris.

For years, the U.N. has advocated eating bugs as a way to offset livestock production. The international body says there are more than 1,900 types of edible bugs on the planet. The U.N. also says livestock is a major emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from methane.

“Insects are reported to emit fewer greenhouse gases and less ammonia than cattle or pigs, and they require significantly less land and water than cattle rearing,” the U.N. reported in 2013. “Compared with mammals and birds, insects may also pose less risk of transmitting zoonotic infections to humans, livestock and wildlife, although this topic requires further research.”

These “peak beefers” also note that insects “are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fibre and mineral content.”

The Obama administration recently outlined a plan to reduce methane emissions from the livestock industry, but the administration has yet to ask Americans to incorporate bugs into their diets.

“The global livestock industry is indeed a major threat to the climate as it represents 14.5% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,” Annan said. “A growing population and a rapidly growing middle class are increasing pressure on the traditional protein sources, beef and poultry meat, making it more difficult to meet demand.”

“We cannot continue the way we are producing and consuming meat,” he added. “Obviously, this should not go as far as governments telling people what to eat.”

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