This week our world leaders are gathering at COP 26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, to tackle climate change and share plans about how they will meet previously agreed climate goals. The climate emergency is interlinked with nature loss; these are the defining issues of our time and we can all play a role to help save our natural world.

At COP26, our team at RSPB NI will be showcasing our work, restoring peatland to help tackle the nature and climate emergency on the Garron Plateau in County Antrim.

But why are peatlands so special and what’s their connection to climate?

Peatlands are beautiful landscapes that cover 12% of Northern Ireland but many people are unaware of what makes them so special and how important a role they play in protecting our environment. These colourful wetlands not only support an array of rare plants, fungi, insects and birds but they have an amazing ability to capture and store large amounts of carbon, which helps to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

Sadly, our peatlands are under threat across the world as they are dug for horticultural peat, drained, and converted for farming and forestry or they are burned.  

How you can help! 

However, this is something you can help prevent at home by simply considering your compost choice. Gardeners across the UK use 70% of horticultural peat for their fertilizer or compost. When this peat is removed for the sale of compost, its fragile habitat is dismantled, and CO2 is released back into the atmosphere.

That’s why RSPB is asking the public to consider peat-free compost, so our environment doesn’t have to pay the price for prize-winning hanging baskets. Different peat alternatives are available for seeds, potting and soil conditioning – just check the label to ensure it is peat free. To date, the campaign has gathered support from the likes of well-known garden writer and broadcaster Monty Don. 

By choosing peat free compost when gardening, you’ll be helping to protect our precious peatlands. This one simple action can make a big difference for nature and climate.  To join RSPB’s pledge to give up peat or to find out more visit:

Image credit: Chris Gomersall (