Why Eating Insects Is for the Birds

Eating bugs is for the birds
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Eating insects? The World Economic Forum wants us to eat bugs. This is because they have decided livestock farts, ammonia and nitrogen are the greatest threat to our planet. History demonstrates, however, that this plan wreaks of ecological disaster and the death toll could be unfathomable

Instead of recommending halting the use of industrial fossil-fuel based nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides used by a destruction-based agricultural model or reducing the size and prevalence of factory farms, they have opted to coerce small farmers into eliminating their herds by one third. You may like this idea, if you don’t support meat eating. However, if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that this directive will become a moving target and involve stricter, more stringent controls. In other words, they’re coming after your food next.

The purpose of this post is not to compare which type of agriculture pollutes Mother Earth the most. It is to understand why the mechanistic thinking of government systems and the lab scientists who ultimately do not understand farming or ecosystems are doomed to fail.


In a podcast interview, farmer Will Harris told me how his grandfather began farming with NPK fertilizers, which worked great in the beginning. Within a few years, the land began deteriorating at an alarming rate.

Image of a farm in drought
Effect of drought on a farm

At first, the farm he inherited seemed like a curse and not worth saving. Using Allan Savory’s regenerative agriculture techniques, however, Harris now farms that same land and is able to ride out flood and drought conditions sometimes with increased yields. Learning how to become a real farmer, who doesn’t wait for executives to tell him when to apply what poison or nutrient to his land, healed the land and allowed him to preserve his way of life.

Recently on Fox Business’s Varney & Co., news host Stuart Varney appears agitated as Will pulls a Grandpa Walton on him, calmly addressing the fundamental issues that must be understood in farming systems that ensure food security. Clearly, Varney was looking for sound bytes — theater, not generations of farming expertise. Go, Will!

Upsetting Ecosystems

While there appears to be no shortage in the supply of insects, turning 7 billion meat eaters into bug eaters in a short period of time is bound to upset the ecosystem. Not that long ago, there wasn’t any particular awareness around bee populations until they began to dwindle, but here we are, wondering how to feed the world without pollinators.

By studying China’s Four Pests Campaign of the late 1950s, we have the opportunity to learn from another failed agricultural policy brought on by mechanistic thinking. As the story goes, sparrows became enemy number one (alongside rats, mosquitos and flies).

Sparrows were blamed for eating rice crops, so it became the heroic duty of all citizens — including children — to kill every sparrow they saw. And comply they did! Within two years, nearly every sparrow in China had been wiped out — although there are rumors of a few folks who hid some sparrows in caves and other remote places to save them.

Then famine set in. Why? Because the sparrows were actually keeping insect pests — locusts, in particular — in check. Now these pests had free rein, consuming rice crops, and leaving nothing for humans.

Starvation was so rampant that people were reduced to eating tree bark and even their pets. I assume this is where the jokes (and ire) about Chinese people, and cats and dogs come from.

To add insult to injury, at the same time, a European “agricultural specialist” recommended growing rice closer than was done customarily. This lead to increased mold issues, and drastically reduced harvests as remaining plants competed for nutrients.

As I contemplate the proposition of eating insects, I find it curious that this solution did not save the Chinese — a population with a long tradition of eating insects — from an agonizing death by starvation. Logic follows that locusts, in particular, would’ve been in abundance for a time after fattening themselves on rice once the pesky sparrows were out of the way. If insect cuisine was a solution, the Four Pests Campaign would’ve been considered a success.

The resulting famine from these executive decisions claimed the lives of up to 43 million Chinese people. Critics suggest the number is far higher, but the Chinese government lied to save face. God help us, when 43 million dead is saving face.

The Role of Mosquitoes

Today, following years of pesticide sprays used to kill mosquitos during that era, Chinese farmers find themselves hand pollinating fruit trees. Why? Because sprays to kill mosquitos also kill beneficial insects. By the way, mosquitos are pollinators too. Will they ever learn? Will we?

Mosquito posing on a surface in post - eating bugs is for the birds

Insects appear insignificant and even annoying to us, but they are vitally important to maintaining balance within ecosystems and producing food. Take the mosquito, the bane of gardeners, campers and hikers everywhere. These little buggers are vital pollinators as mentioned above and food for birds, bats and other insects.

Yet Hawaii, against public outcry of 4:1, just approved the release of genetically modified mosquitos, designed to sterilize the males. But what happens when the remaining ones infect our flora and fauna — our food? What happens when the last male is dead? What happens when they sting us? If these decisions are made under the guise of helping humans, shouldn’t these studies be done well in advance of such policy decisions?

Regenerative farmers know that even “bad” pests play a role in the ecosystem and that patterns arise for nature to bring in solutions. Damaging aphids, for example, attract beneficial ladybugs to the garden. And grasshoppers, which might devour some of your green leafies, attract birds, which in turn return nitrogen to the soil.

Even with deep knowledge of ecology and predator cycles, consuming bugs is likely to turn sour just like all the other attempts humans have made to control life through simple-minded rationale.

In science as in life, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. You know?

To anyone paying attention, it’s pretty clear that food production fails, when put in the hands of corporations, bureaucrats, guys in lab coats and anyone indoctrinated into the linear, mechanistic thinking of slash n’ burn Western science. It is the proverbial trying to cram a square peg in a round hole.

If the aim is to produce more food, and not the opposite, we would do best to combine the wisdom of successful farmers and communities throughout the ages with the best Western science — with not much more than 100 years of “knowledge” — may be able to offer as support to those systems. Trusting people and organizations, who have never learned how to farm in harmony with nature or at all is a lot like going to a bald hairdresser as my dad would say. It makes no sense.


We don’t need to eat all the bugs to upset the ecosystem. This is about balance. Looking at food trends such as kale, quinoa, coconut, limes, and (blood) avocados, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a run on crickets or grasshoppers and a resultant massive ecosystem imbalance, which of course will be addressed with more bad science.

So when it comes to eating insects, leave it to your backyard flock. They know just what to do. Plus you’ll get delicious eggs and know that you’re doing your part for the environment.

To learn more about China’s cautionary tale, check out the video below.

There are many other issues to consider with the prospect of relying on bugs for protein, including parasites. This article was meant just to explore the ecological imbalance that’s bound to ensue should this become policy.

Tell me in the comments below, what do you think will be our win-win strategy for food security and nourishing humanity?

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