I know everyone has been struggling with this topic for many generations, and I know that there is technically enough food in the world to comfortably feed everyone on it, if only we could distribute it fairly or whatever. I mean, just look at these statistical maps:
And let’s face it, Houston isn’t exactly desperate for space itself, at 3,400 people per square Km. There are more people than that in my apartment building, probably.
But what most people seem to struggle with – with the exception of the Chinese Government – is the long game. Unfortunately, most great achievements and successes for the international community will have to be a long game, there are not many short-game solutions when it comes to things like world hunger. You can’t just throw 30 billion dollars into Africa and assume it will evenly spread around 20 African countries, transform the wilderness and inevitably become self sustainable.
No. If you wanted to transform the environment, a long game is in order. Years, decades of planning, research, ecological transformation, human control. Generations must pass for it to succeed, and yes, people will suffer and die in that process and you will probably just have to let it happen, within reason.
With that long game in mind, I have a new solution.
Recently, the UN has been promoting insects as a dietry option, and in many countries they already do. Some have stated a 2 billion sized portion of humans snack on insects including those from China, Thailand, Latin American and African countries.
With the UN now promoting it as low fat and high protein, I figure it’s a good time to get my new invention out there. But not yet.
Again, this is a long game. You can’t just expect the UN’s promotion to suddenly convert all us westerners and other countries with a different set of culinary opinions into bug loving hippies. Most of us are and will continue to be too grossed out at the idea of crunching into a stag beetle or a caterpillar you just found on a garden leaf.
So here is my plan, which benefits me several hundred years from now when I can finally make a profit from my product which I will describe momentarily.
We simply need to push the UN’s idea harder, and persevere for a generation or two, that bugs are nice, delicious and convenient. Think about it, right now, It’s completely normal for many countries to eat chickens feet, snakes, squid beaks, and, if I am to be controversial, human fetuses in pill form.
Even in the UK we’re pretty content with organs such as livers and intestines, blood of a suffering animal and various other meat choices that, out of context, sounds pretty disgusting. It’s only because of the way we are taught that bugs are repulsive and generally not remotely edible. Our mothers see us with a worm about to be chewed by our innocent mouths, rushes at us shouting ‘don’t eat that!’.
We, confused, oblige and drop it, or maybe suck it up in time before she gets a hold of it. The dirt is probably potential sickness waiting to happen, or good for the immune system to build up our inner strength, but either way, that worm was a lot of protein and not a lot of fat, according to the UN.
So on we go, growing up, becoming increasingly aware of insects and spiders and how scary and gross they are. Did you ever find yourself jumping around in haystacks and fields as a kid? Rolling around in the mud and playing with things you find on leaves? Did you ever then, reach a certain age where you found yourself in the same scenario, but far more aware of the possibility that you might… you know… TOUCH something alive in there? Oh man, there’s something in my shoe! Get out of the field immediately, it could be an ant!
Yeah… we didn’t give a crap as a kid. That fear and grossness is simply taught to us, the same way a baby chick is taught by it’s mother bird that the ugly predator at the bottom of the tree is dangerous.
But since our fear of insects is mostly unjustified, and based largely on ignorance (One of them stings, ALL of them sting), we can now teach our children to dismiss this concept. We can encourage finding a worm and eating it, perhaps after running it through tap water first if you’re a clean freak.
We can educate kids in school about which ones are good to eat and which ones you should just flick back onto the grass. Given a generation or two, the idea of insects being gross will be transformed. There might be fast food chains dedicated to insect burgers. Subway could become Bugway, Gnatdonalds – Burger Queen (ant), Starbugs Coffee. The marketing potential is endless.
As for me, I could make my own little pocket of gold. For poorer nations who actually need this as an option, they can make it portable. I will design a portable but reasonably sizable box. Sure, it can come in different sizes, why not.
This box can be strapped onto you on a belt, or around your shoulder, hanging down the side at your waist. What’s in the box? A UV light beams brightly, powered by the movement of your walking steps (yeah science can do stuff like that nowadays). It’s a walking, free and infinite snack device.
Just ten minutes walking around the open streets and you might get a bit pecking, but now nobody needs to fear, for they can just reach over, pull out a sliding tray of ready-cooked, ready-sterilised flies of all kinds (including mosquitoes) and gobble up a handful of protein.
The tray that the insect inevitably falls into can be littered with various spices, so when the poor animal falls, he becomes more delicious than ever. For those fashion conscious of us, scientists through my own R&D system will work on a various array of colours for the bug attracting light, and even ones that change to appeal more to different bugs as well as showing off a lovely cyber-fluorescent party scene right on your hip.
For those of you who rely even more on insects, of course it’s just common sense to separate it from your body/belt/shoulder strap, and just place it on the floor, or of course, attach it to a wall. Overnight, or even over work hours, it will attract a whole bunch of different, slower and less aerial insects, via various other miniature devices within. These devices are incredibly cheap. With the UV powered by footsteps (and can keep charge from the previous days walks), an audio speaker can record and play a loop of, say, a spiders favourite prey. Overnight as the animals pile up, it will attract even more creatures and you might even get something like a rat by the time you wake up, which is why I would suggest the larger box for families.
These embellishments may seem like a joke to you, but imagine in a few hundred years when bugs have become a genuinely viable dish. The very basics of the machine is bound to create millions of dollars for my cold dead corpse.
The best thing about it is that I’m pretty sure insects are infinite in population. Like bacteria in a petri dish, they can only proliferate to the extent that the size of the dish and the supply of nutrients allows it. If we are to decimate the numbers of insects (and I use decimate the proper way here; reduce by 1/10th, not totally destroy) in the world within a year, the other surviving insects simply have the opportunity to procreate even more. The balance will remain. Or at least, the fast breeding bugs can remain.
The slow, loser bugs won’t go unnoticed, since, when endangered they will simply become a delicacy, and people will make efforts to conserve them, like the stupid Panda. The only difference is that you won’t find a Latin Face-eating moth refusing to mate with another because its wing pattern is displeasing. Within a month, there will be 100,000 faces at risk of being eaten, likely by moths.
That being said there are no fears of animal extinction. Cows will become even more endangered than ever before because we will lose interest in them, the methane problem we all know about will diminish, animal cruelty will be vanquished and much less tolerated. Halal will fail to sustain its own existence in the Islamic world, in favour of the middle-eastern dancing Gnat, and after a few more follow up chain assumptions, world peace will probably follow.
But I don’t need to go that far into this ambitious project. If we can just stop at the point where you buy my product, I’ll be pretty satisfied.