Team 4 (University of Arkansas, faculty advisor - Tim Kring), Topic 2: What is the best individual solution to solving the threat of global climate change?
Tuesday, November 13, 2012: 3:15 PM
Lecture Hall, Floor Two (Knoxville Convention Center)
Climate change has great potential to negatively impact the global environment and associated human systems. For centuries, earth has been going through alternating periods of warm and cold weather. The 20th century has seen unprecedented warming when compared to these historic temperature cycles. Human progress has inadvertently caused the following problems: 1) extensive use of fossil fuels, 2) an increase of greenhouse gas emissions, and 3) land-use changes for agriculture and urbanization. For instance, livestock occupies up to 70% of agricultural land and contributes 18% of total greenhouse emissions. To mitigate negative effects of climate change, we propose utilizing insects as food, also called entomophagy. Entomophagy can solve these problems in many ways. Insects are efficient converters of plant matter into animal protein, while simultaneously requiring minimal space and resources. Insects can easily be reared in virtually any setting ranging from private residences to an industrial scale operation. Much of an insect’s diet can be made up of co- and byproducts instead of directly competing for human foods (e.g., corn). They require minimal input from the farmer and take less time to reach maturity. Thousands of insects have been recorded as edible and many of these species offer beneficial by-products. For example, honeybees, while being edible, also act as pollinators, produce honey, beeswax, and other products useful to humans. Insects, with their extreme efficiency, small space requirements, and high nutrient value, have the potential to revolutionize modern culture and current agricultural systems to be a solution for climate change.