A letter writer praises U.K. officials for the gradual banning the use of peat – the material that makes Burns Bog vital for the health of the plant.

Save bogs: Ban the use of peat

Thanks to leaders in Britain we’re now one step closer to 'zero peat.'

You and I know the importance of protecting peat to save our wetlands and stop climate change.  Imagine a world where everyone else agrees that peat must stay in the ground, and peatland ecosystems were left alone.

Thanks to leaders in Britain we’re now one step closer to “zero peat.”

The Conservative government in Great Britain has promised to eliminate peat from all gardening products.

They have a phased plan and no more peat will be used:

• In public parks and gardens throughout Britain by 2015;

• In the gardens of people’s homes by 2020; and

• In all commercial plant growing by 2030.

But many gardeners are opposed. Opposition has been fierce, but the opposition to the opposition has been even fiercer, and that’s good news for us. Gardeners claim they need to use peat to remain competitive and grow their favourite plants.

But they can make other choices, and the “right” of a gardener to carry on using peat is not as important as the universal right to human and planetary health. Britain needs our praise for taking this brave stance on peat, as others will follow.

This is why I’m asking you to take a moment and thank our friends across the pond for their vision on this issue. I don’t want to see short-sighted gardeners destroy bogs forever, just so they can have a few more years of pretty flowers – do you?

Speak out in favour of this peat ban … and help us lobby for a similar ban here at home. Imagine every country in the world following suit.

Let me re-state what you and I know only too well. Peat is vital to the health of the planet. It is the most powerful carbon sink, keeping CO2 in the ground where it won’t heat the planet.

Bogs only create one centimetre of peat a year, so a sustainable harvest is impossible.

What is taken can’t grow back in the next cycle because the bog is cut into and ripped out, or as environmentalists more honestly say, “mined.”

Peat is too important to waste. Britain has demonstrated the political will to save peatlands, and they have a plan, but what they need now is what the Burns Bog Conservation Society does day in, day out – someone who will shout loudly and clearly about why this is so important.

 

Eliza Olson, president

Burns Bog Conservation Society

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