Behavioral scientist Magnus Söderlund has a new idea to combat climate change, and it’s a bit hard to swallow:
To keep the world fed amid the effects of global warming, we need to start eating things we once found revolting: including insects, our pets, and each other.
Söderlund presented his modest proposal this week at Gastro Summit, a conference about the food of the future in Stockholm. The summit’s tagline was “Food of the Future: Worms, Grasshoppers, or Human Flesh.”
During a speech titled “Can you imagine eating human flesh?,” Söderlund used PowerPoint to present the following talking points:
- Are we humans too selfish to live sustainably?
- Is cannibalism the solution to food sustainability in the future?
- Does Generation Z have the answers to our food challenges?
- Can consumers be tricked into making the right decisions?
Söderlund described the taboos against cannibalism as “conservative” and suggested the first step would be for people to taste human meat.
“The person who is to be eaten must be dead,” confirmed Söderlund. “One problem [contributing to people’s unwillingness to accept the idea] could be that dead bodies overall are taboo. In addition, criticism arises against defiling a dead body.”
After the conference, Söderlund claimed 8% of participants told him they would try human meat. When asked if he himself would try it, he said, “I feel somewhat hesitant, but to not appear overly conservative…I’d have to say…I’d be open to at least tasting it.”
Critics insist cannibalism is wrong on an instinctual level and worry that eating human meat could cause significant health problems.
“From what it seems, this story is about preparing the public to accept the disgusting but commonly practiced in the world of antiquity practice of cannibalism,” reports Christian website Shoebat. “This only makes sense, for the more that Christianity and the traces of her disappear from society, the more that the old heathenry returns to fill the void.”
Magnus Söderlund is a behavioral scientist and marketing strategist who focuses on consumers’ reactions to advertisements and products “in a society increasingly obsessed with consumption.”
Söderlund is the Professor of Marketing and Head of Center for Consumer Marketing at the Stockholm School of Economics.
It’s very likely that Söderlund’s speech was a social experiment designed to gauge the public’s response to the idea of cannibalism. For someone of Söderlund’s status to present this idea highlights the need to find food solutions amid the effects of global warming.
Editor’s note: Yes, I thought it was a joke too. I can’t conceive of civilized, well educated people advocating cannibalism. But there it is…