Have you given your plants peat earth again this year? Here's the bad news: It's good for plants, but unfortunately not for the planet. Again something to look out for when consuming consciously. “Although peat grows back, it is not a renewable or sustainable raw material. What we use today is not available to future generations, ”says Dominik Linhard from the environmental organization Global 2000 Garden and balcony friends startle. And it shows the enormous extent that overshadows the use of peat: "The extraction of peat is responsible for five to ten percent of the global CO2 emissions!" Nevertheless, EU-wide 63 million cubic meters of peat are mined in bogs per year.
"The extraction of peat is responsible for five to ten percent of the total global CO2 emissions!"
Dominik Linhard, Global 2000
Change of venue to Schrems in Lower Austria: Here, near the border, is one of the last moor areas that invites hikers to go hiking. It is a small area opposite the ten times as large, original area in Austria, in the whole Europe already about 60 per cent of the bogs have been drained and thus irretrievably disappeared.
The special feature of this unique ecosystem with its own flora and fauna is in the moss. "It grows and dies in lower parts at the same time, but never rots completely. The reason for this is the humidity and lack of oxygen in the gossip. Over the years, the remains are squeezed together to form peat. It can take millennia for a moor to form, "explains Monika Hubik, Managing Director of the UnderWaterWorld in Schrems, which has set itself the task of informing about the Naturgut Moor and to preserve the remaining areas. - Before those enterprising entrepreneurs who provide the gardener with what they want: the unique raw material peat. One thing is fact: there is no substance that offers similarly positive properties. Peat stores a lot of water, has a low nutrient content, which makes it ideal for targeted processing and also offers consistent quality. Consequently, peat is sought after by earth suppliers such as gardeners. In addition, it seems absurd that a second use of peat is also extremely popular: In many places it is incinerated to generate energy.
"The bogs, three percent of the Earth's surface, store one third of the carbon - twice as much as all the forests together."
Dominik Linhard, Global 2000 on the CO2 storage peat
Peat stores CO2
"In Austria, the moors are now largely protected. However, the problem is only shifted abroad, for example to Germany, Estonia or Belarus, "explains Linhard. 163.000 tons of peat are imported into the Alpine republic alone, and the trend is upwards. 2010 it was "only" 108.000 tons of peat.
The unrestrained draining of the moors in favor of our potted plants thus continues to ruin the global climate. "Peat-Moose form carbon pools. The bogs, three percent of the earth's surface, thus save one-third of the total carbon (about 550 billion tons, note d. That's twice as much as all the woods bind together. CO2 will eventually be released when the bogs are cleared. "
Together with the ecosystem Moor disappear also many kinds of plants. Around 50 percent are at acute risk. In addition, bogs act as buffers in floods, counteract erosion and even affect regional Kleinklimata. Linhard: "It would be desirable to coordinate the exit at EU level." Means: peat should disappear completely from potting soil.
A noble goal, which has now also set the Austrian garden center chain bellaflora. After the pesticides have disappeared from the shelves, the earth or peat is now tuned. "So far the biggest challenge," says Sustainability Commissioner Isabella Hollerer, announcing the exit with exemplary effect: "In conventional soils, up to 90 percent are currently peat. Since there is no comparable substance, it is our task to find a new mix. That requires a lot of research and cooperation with the suppliers. "Instead of peat substitutes such as coconut or wood fiber, grain residues or compost should be used as a mix with similar properties.