How your daily coffee can help tropical forests grow back

Researchers find that the coffee pulp is valuable in its own right.

Credit: Rebecca Cole/British Ecological Society
  • When coffee is harvested, the skin and pulp surrounding the bean are often discarded.
  • Costa Rica, which had much of its tropical forests chopped down for agricultural use, is testing coffee pulp as a way to help reforest the country.
  • A new study finds that coffee pulp can help reforest land in just two years.
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    Retrain your brain for long-term thinking

    Escaping the marshmallow brain trap.

    • Roman Krznaric, philosopher and author of the book "The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking," says that there are two parts of the human brain that are driving our decisions and ultimately determining what kind of legacy we leave behind for future generations.
    • Short-term thinking happens in the marshmallow brain (named after the famous Stanford marshmallow test), while long term thinking and strategizing occurs in the acorn brain. By retraining ourselves to use the acorn brain more often, we can ensure that trillions of people—including our grandchildren and their grandchildren—aren't inheriting a depleted world and the worst traits that humankind has to offer.
    • "At the moment we're using on average 1.6 planet earths each year in terms of our ecological footprint," says Krznaric, but that doesn't mean that it's too late to turn things around. Thinking long term about things like politics and education can help "rebuild our imaginations of what a civilization could be."

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    Citizen scientists are filling research gaps created by the pandemic

    Participation in community science programs has skyrocketed during COVID-19 lockdowns.

    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    The rapid spread of COVID-19 in 2020 disrupted field research and environmental monitoring efforts worldwide. Travel restrictions and social distancing forced scientists to cancel studies or pause their work for months.

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    Finally, a world map for bees

    First picture of worldwide bee distribution fills knowledge gaps and may help protect species.

    Credit: Current Biology, open access
  • The first global picture of the world's 20,000 bee species holds a few surprises.
  • Unlike most other species, bees are less abundant at the tropics and more in dry, temperate zones.
  • Bees are endangered but crucial as pollinators – this study will help protect them.

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    Isolated island group is now one of the world's largest animal sanctuaries

    One of the world's most isolated island groups has just been made one of the world's largest ocean reserves.

    Credit: RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)
    • The small island group of Tristan da Cunha has created one of the world's largest ocean sanctuaries.
    • Neither fishing nor extractive activities will be allowed in the area, which is three times the size of the United Kingdom.
    • Animals protected by this zone include penguins, sharks, and many seabirds.
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