In an era of constant bad news about the climate crisis, it can be tough to find something to be optimistic about. So in 2019 when articles started circulating declaring that tree planting had “mind-blowing potential” to combat climate change, a lot of people got excited. To be clear, the best thing we can do to tackle the climate crisis is to stop burning fossil fuels, but there are also ways that we can soak up some of the C02 that we’ve put into the atmosphere. Trees and other plants actually do this naturally. They take in carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their leaves and branches and trunks.
A few years back, 99pi producer Emmett FitzGerald brought us a beautiful story about peat bogs. Peat is essential for biodiversity and for the climate – it is really, really good at storing carbon. But like a lot of things we cover on the show, peat often goes unnoticed, in part because it is literally out of sight underground. We’ve noticed peat and carbon sequestration more and more in the news lately. Journalists have been brilliantly covering stories about the tree planting movement, private ownership of Scotland’s bogs, and the threat to peat in the Congo Basin. Couple that with more extreme weather happening in more places, we thought it would be a good idea to repeat this story.
In the fight against climate change the peatlands of the British Isles are one of our greatest assets. A healthy peat bog can absorb more carbon dioxide and store it for longer than forests of a similar size. But we’re still destroying our peat at a frightening rate. It’s mined for use by gardeners, it’s burned in power stations, taken by traditional peat-cutters and ravaged by moorland fires. In ‘Costing the Earth’ Tom Heap meets the people leading the fightback. He takes to the skies above the Peak District where helicopters are dropping rocks and heather brash onto remote hillsides to heal the wounds caused by two centuries of acid rain. He joins the teams blocking drains and planting pods of sphagnum moss in an effort to bring carbon-sucking life back to the blasted heaths of the peaks.
From flowers and fruits to succulents and sowing micro greens, we cover a whole host of topics with some of your favourite people across the gardening world. This ones for those who prefer plants to people and think of their seedlings as their children.
This episode is sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers, who are celebrating the great outdoors this spring! Visit them in stores across the UK or at moleonline.com between the 1st of March and 31st of May to make the most of their fabulous offers. You’ll find discounts on items like sheds, garden furniture and all those gardening essentials, so head over to check out their full product range and get your garden summer ready!
Today’s episode is all about our peatlands. The flora and fauna that call them home but also the farmers and communities that live on and around bogs. Dr Shane brings us to Clara Bog in Co. Offaly to hear about how FarmPeat are working with these communities to change the conversation around turf and the landscape.