MCFly 47 – For Peat’s Sake

On Thursday April 15 activists from from the non-violent direct action groups Earth First and Manchester Climate Action stopped the extraction of peat from Chat Moss, in Salford. They chained themselves to machinery, thus preventing diggers and lorries from removing peat from the site until they were cut away by Greater Manchester police. Two people were arrested.
In their press release EF/MCA state that “peat bogs have recently become the focus of international attention because they act as huge ‘carbon sponges’: as peat is formed it locks away carbon that has been absorbed by plants as they grow, thereby helping to reduce the carbon in the atmosphere and slow global warming. The draining and extraction of this unique habitat causes the release of thousands of years worth of stored carbon. Globally, peat bogs cover just 3% of the world’s surface but store twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests combined.
“The greatest threat to peat bogs is from peat extraction for use in horticulture. An area the size of 250 Trafalgar Squares is dug up every year for the UK horticultural industry, with 70% of this demand coming from amateur gardeners. This is despite the fact that there are a wide variety of good quality peat-free commercial composts, meaning that there is no need for the UK to consume any peat at all. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, for instance, has been peat-free since 1992.”
Local campaigner Mary Chapel, said: “We are stopping the destruction of Chat Moss bog to protect this site for the benefit of present and future generations. Peat bogs harbour a wide variety of birds, plants and animals that can be found nowhere else…. there are countless alternatives to peat for use in compost, as well as more sustainable jobs in those industries.”
There is a support demonstration for the two people who were arrested, on Tues May 10 at 9.30am, at the Salford Magistrate’s Court.


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Below the surface...
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