"Peat bogs are seen by some scientists to be as important and fragile as rainforests, and that’s where the concern lies about the use of peat moss by gardeners. Peat companies are destroying these fragile, unique and valuable bog ecosystems by removing the peat." http://www.life.ca/naturallife/0712/asknlpeat.html
There are many alternatives to peat moss, many of which cost almost nothing and, unlike dry peat moss, they offer nutrient value:
- compost - made from yard waste or kitchen scraps
- leaf mold / mulch -- we have plenty of this around here!
- well-rotted farm manure
- spent mushroom compost
- wood waste-- chipped bark, shredded tree prunings
- cocoa shells
- coconut coir -- although it's a waste material, it's being transported from far away places such as Sri Lanka
For more information, check out this article.