Action for the ocean: Insects as one solution

Today, the UN will come together to unite, promote and implement sustainable solutions in order to protect one of the world's most valuable ecosystems, the ocean.


To mark this occasion, the UN says: "On this day, we have an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably."


There is no doubt that the ecosystem of the blue world below us is in crisis and that change is glaringly apparent. In a recent report, it was found that as the temperature continues to rise, the coral reef continues to face deterioratisation on an unprecedented scale as “Coral bleaching affected 91% of reefs surveyed along the Great Barrier Reef this year”. Coral bleaching is caused by warmer temperatures as “when water is too warm, corals expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. This is called coral bleaching. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and are subject to mortality..



In a report issued by The Guardian, “Dr David Wachenfeld, GBRMPA chief scientist, told the Guardian bleaching wasn’t expected in a La Niña....But having said that, the climate is changing and the planet and the reef is about 1.5 degrees centigrade warmer than it was 150 years ago. Because of that, the weather is changing. Unexpected events are now to be expected

Yet despite the unprecedented change the world is going through, a report from world ocean day 2021 concluded that “1,103 organisations from over 84 countries signed the global petition to protect at least 30% of our planet's lands, waters, and ocean by 2030”.


Along with unions coming together to create a sustainable oceanic environment, the UK is also passing sustainable legislation as “the Government on (7 June 2022) launched a consultation to gather views on a sustainable approach to marine development that will help meet the UK’s ambitious target to reach net zero while supporting the recovery of our ocean….Marine net gain (MNG) aims to improve the state of the marine environment by protecting, restoring or creating environmental features of greater ecological value than any losses associated with marine infrastructure projects.”


All whilst we turn the tides to protect the marine environment, it is crucial that we remain adamant in our goals as the ocean "absorbs around 23% of annual CO2 emissions generated by human activity and helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. The ocean has also absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system.” Along with absorbing carbon dioxide, the ocean is also responsible for giving us air to breathe with a new report highlighting that “more than half of the oxygen you breathe comes from marine photosynthesizers, like phytoplankton and seaweed. Both use carbon dioxide, water and energy from the sun to make food for themselves, releasing oxygen in the proces.”


In order to make a change, sustainable solutions are underway in many countries around the world in order to restore the health of our oceans. Members of society and leaders of the world need to take action in allowing edible insects to be implemented within our everyday lives as edible insects such as crickets require less than 100L of water for 1kg of edible crickets, as opposed to 15,000L of water needed for 1kg of beef. Alongside this, 1kg of protein from beef emits a massive 2,850g of GHGs into the atmosphere, whereas 1kg of insect protein only emits 1g.



In a recent study on edible insects by the Korean Society of Food Science and Technology (KoSFoST), it was found that "livestock production accounts for more than 14.5% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it is critical to reduce the dependence of humans on protein nutrients and calories obtained from livestock. One way to do so is to use insects as food. Compared with typical livestock, farming edible insects (or “mini-livestock”) produce fewer GHG emissions, require less space and water, involve shorter life cycles, and have higher feed conversion rates."


The average adult in the UK consumes 31.5kg of beef per year (~90 kg emissions). Even if we substitute just 2% of this beef consumption with edible insects (eating 12g of insects per week which is miniscule), we could prevent 2 kgs of CO2 emission per person, per year. A small change with a big positive outcome.


In a report conducted by Forbes magazine said “according to Rachel Mazac, from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry at the university, “By minimising environmental impact in global warming potential, i.e., carbon emissions, water use, and land use, we found that diets with novel and future foods as well as vegan diets with protein-rich plant-based alternatives could have over 80% less environmental impact than the average current European omnivore diet.”


With the growing appreciation of the health of our ocean being tightly interconnected with our existence, we are now looking at how we take care of our environment in order to ensure a better future for us and the oceans’ vast ecosystem because after all, we have one ocean, one climate and one future, together. Support us to provide one of the solutions: edible insects!



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