This morning, I read with great interest an article in the UK's Telegraph about Peat in horticultural use. Peat is widely added to growing mediums in the horticultural industry, and surprisingly, it is domestic gardeners who consume two thirds of what the peat industry produces, in the form of multi-purpose compost. But Peat is a 'young' fossil fuel and it stores large amounts of carbon (around double all that is stored in the world's forests) and it has a big role in regulating our environment.
As the article says, "Because of our consumption [of peat], important landscapes, habitats and archaeological sites are being destroyed and more than 630,000 tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere each year, the equivalent greenhouse-gas emissions of more than 300,000 cars (RSPB, 2011)." - Telegraph.co.uk.
It certainly begs the question—why are we doing this? There are alternatives: loam (which is a mix of sand, silt and clay in even amounts), homemade compost, rotted leaves, coir, bio char, and even wet newspapers are all good options. Check the packaging for 'Peat free' labeling when buying garden soil products or ask the garden center staff to help you steer clear of these products.
Read the full Telegraph article