THERE has been a significant shift towards gardening during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whether a growing space is large or small, a raised bed, community garden, or window box, there are healthy benefits from cultivating crops and eating your own food.

It is likely that our gardens will be used even more in 2021.

More people are getting involved in creating sustainable, wildlife-friendly and beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy.

Gardening is also being taken more seriously in terms of how it can contribute to reduction in our carbon emissions and prevent biodiversity loss.

The continued sale of peat-based compost for use in gardens is being increasingly challenged as part of efforts to address the climate emergency. This is because peat has a significant global impact as the world’s second largest carbon store after the oceans.

Peatlands have the ability to store millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide that has been absorbed over thousands of years. In addition, they reduce flood risk by soaking up water during periods of high rainfall and gradually releasing it over time.

As some of the most extensive wild spaces, peatlands are rich in rare and endangered wildlife boosting our biodiversity. They are home to unique species such as the large heath butterfly, bog sun-jumper spider and sphagnum mosses.

The initial 2020 target by the UK Government to cut peat from amateur garden use has been missed.

However, the sale of horticultural peat could be ended immediately. With good alternatives available, there is no reason that peat still needs to be extracted and used in garden compost.

Government policies need to show progress in combating climate change through halting peat extraction and peat compost imports in 2021.

Within Glasgow, Green councillors are supporting plans for the peat-free procurement policy to be adopted across the Council.

As the threat of climate change has grown more severe, peatlands are identified as vital natural resources for absorbing and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide known as “carbon sinks.”

This is why the Scottish Greens manifesto will pledge an additional £145 million more to restore peatlands across Scotland. Our future depends on it. Glasgow has peat bogs too.

By raising awareness of the benefits gained from peatlands in fighting climate change, we can help to protect our remaining lowland raised peat bogs in the North East of the city.

These sites have suffered from many centuries of disturbance and degrading activities, such as drainage, burning and agricultural use. There were peat bogs on the south of the Clyde but they have disappeared through development. Their legacy is provided in place names such as Mosspark, Bogside, and Moss Road.

When the world’s peatlands are drained, huge amounts of greenhouse gases from the carbon stored is released. The United Nations Environment Assembly is urging action to conserve and restore peatlands to bring about significant emissions reductions.

Large amounts of carbon can remain locked away in peat soils. The city’s lowland raised bogs may be dismissed as barren wastelands.

Yet just 15cm of peat contains more carbon per hectare than a tropical forest. The importance of Glasgow’s precious peatlands should not be underestimated.