Action: Raise awareness amongst the public (general)
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One study evaluated the effects of interventions to raise general public awareness about peatlands on knowledge, behaviour, peatland habitats or peatland vegetation. The study reported effects on unspecified peatlands.
- Behaviour change (1 study): One before-and-after study in the UK reported that following awareness-raising activities, the percentage of the public buying peat-free compost increased.
The public could be educated about the importance of peatlands, threats they face and what can be done to protect them. Messages could be conveyed through information boards, talks, art projects, adverts, leaflets, celebrity endorsements and social media.
This section considers the effectiveness of awareness-raising about peatlands in general (e.g. their biodiversity and value for humans) and education about simple actions to prevent damage to peatlands (such as using peat-free compost and avoiding products containing palm oil) which might develop markets for sustainably produced peatland products.
Key peatland types for which this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after study in 1990–2007 in the UK (Alexander et al. 2008) reported that following multiple public awareness campaigns about peat in compost, the proportion of people buying peat free compost increased. These results were not tested for statistical significance. In 2007, 35% of people surveyed had purchased peat free compost, compared to 0% before campaigning in 1990. In 2007, 60% of people surveyed were aware of peat free composts and 47% said that it was very or fairly important that their compost is peat free (no data reported for 1990). The 2007 survey, of 1,811 people, was carried out by a UK do-it-yourself retailer. The study does not report the source of the 1990 data. Awareness-raising was carried out by the Peatlands Campaign Consortium, a group of 10 UK conservation organizations aiming to protect peatlands and increase public awareness of their value and degradation. Specific activities included publishing reports and leaflets, organizing seminars, establishing a National Bog Day and placing education volunteers in garden centres.