Monday, 1 November 2010

The last time I bought grow bags I asked the retailer for peat-free compost and was told (I suspect out of genuine ignorance) that "they all have peat". Although I know this to be untrue, and should have made the effort to go elsewhere, I contributed to the degradation of our carbon stores by buying some anyway, simply because it was convenient. Life is full of such small guilt-trips and perhaps we need higher prices to make us do the right thing. Maybe the retailer would have been better informed and switched to selling alternatives if peat-based products were more expensive? A levy on peat extraction is certainly one option that could help to conserve this important carbon store. It was just one of four compelling suggestions being made by Relu's Sustainable Uplands project at a seminar for policymakers in Westminster. The uplands provide us not just with an efficient means of storing carbon but with food, clean water supplies, flood protection and wonderful landscapes. Why would we not protect them, except perhaps through ignorance - or putting our immediate convenience first?

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