August 22, 2022

Hey! Greenies! Taking good care of yourselves? Watching your diet? Exercising? Taking those probiotics to strengthen your gut biome and digestion? Well, cut it out! You’re part of the problem here.

‘); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1609268089992-0’); }); }

Among the critters that metabolically produce CO2 are bacteria. As far as I can find out, every creature on Earth that has a mouth has a gut. And nearly every gut’s biome contains bacteria, some more densely populated or more varied than others. Those bacteria give off CO2 as part of simply living. That CO2 escapes the bacteria’s host’s body during the process of elimination, usually through an anal orifice.

Everything farts, though it might not have been noticed (heard, smelt, or seen wafting up from a bird’s hind end on a chilly morning) in some species yet. The animal is not the source of the excreted CO2; it’s the bacteria that live inside the animal. You, me, the cows, the crickets, all God’s creatures need to fart. Especially we humans, as we have more bacteria living inside each of us than there are dollars in our $30+ trillion national debt.

Yeast, while a sort of fungus and not a bacterium, also exudes CO2 as it goes through its lifecycle. Baking bread, fermenting grains into beer, bourbon, and other alcohols, and converting grape sugar into wine all release yeast-created CO2. You can tell a greenie is truly dedicated to reducing carbon emissions when he stops eating avocado with toast, comparing sips of microbrews, and relaxing with a boutique single malt or pinot noir after a long day.

Image: Cricket by neil.dalphin. Public domain.

‘); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1609270365559-0’); }); }

By the way, bacteria that live in the seabed alone make up 10% to 30% of the Earth’s whole biomass. They are snuggled into the mud happily breaking down organic matter into its basic components and releasing carbon dioxide. Bacteria are the ultimate bio-digesters, disassembling all living matter as it dies and returns to its inert phase. We are stardust, and will eventually get back to the garden with the help of bacteria. They live in our compost piles, the duff of forests, and almost everywhere else on earth, including the wharf-side plants converting Northwest forestry byproducts into biodiesel and factories turning Midwestern corn into ethanol. And giving off the gas.

Too bad it’s just coming to light that the process of preparing the ground, growing and harvesting the corn, and producing the ethanol to mix with gasoline has a greater carbon footprint than just using the unadulterated fuel itself. But President Joe knows how to use a pen; he can cancel the ethanol program with a simple signature. Or can he?

Anyway, back to the crickets. Folks are getting spun up about consuming tiny exoskeletal creatures. I’m very much enjoying a lot of the memes saying, “You vill eat ze bugs.”

I’ve read quite a few alarming-sounding comments about this article, which reports on a new Canadian cricket farm that will turn out 10 metric tons (11,025 US tons) of crickets annually. Ten tons of crickets yield about six tons of protein. American adults consume on average about 100 grams of protein a day. That’s about a quarter pound of protein for roughly 259 million people; 57 million pounds or 28,500 tons a day of protein from all sources, meat and plant. This, plus what our children, pets, and livestock consume far exceeds any amount of cricket protein currently available or anticipated.

There’s no need to get exercised over 10 tons a year of crickets; that’s a measly 0.027 grams per person per year. That’s not even a supplement; not even enough to flavor the steak sauce. It’s just a teeny tiny niche market for adventurous eaters. It’s mostly just for pet food anyway. But it is a growing industry.

Now to the cows. As a country, we consume around 45.5 million tons of meat, 13.7 million tons of it beef, each year.