One alternative to Peat - or Sphagnum, or the thousands of species that comprise Moss Bogs - is the part of a Coconut between the hard internal shell and the slightly less hard outer part of a Coconut. This fiber has to be washed to reduce levels of sodium and potassium before it can be used in soil, or in what a shovel-less fascist might call 'growing medium.' Another name for this fiber is Coir. When you prepare Coconut fiber to make ropes and mats or stuffing for mattresses, there's a left over that gathers. Much of this left over is a dust. Some will tell you this Coir Dust can take up to twenty years to become one with the universe. A claim that so grabs at my Luddite heart, the claim can only be a figment from an advertizing agency.
It doesn't matter what the rulers of the Peat or Sphagnum industry tell you. They employ miners while they themselves spend their vacations in Cancun because after a Peat Bog is done with, the view at home is unpleasant and you have to wait about two thousand years for the bog to re-grow. I'd say people who grow Coconuts have the distinction of being tropical gardeners and have no need to ever climb aboard a bloody airplane to get away from their view, but who knows now there's a Coconut husking machine that does the work of twenty highly trained men in an afternoon. Yesterday I was again made emotionally distraught by the condition of the soil in the Vegetable Garden. Despite the barrow loads from compost piles, I have seen more humus in the sand of the Sinai Desert. There are two kinds of Peat in the USA. The stuff from Canada which serves the soil here for about six months and the stuff from Florida which serves soil here for about two weeks. These days where I live you can get Coir Dust, it's more expensive than Peat, because the interest that sells it doesn't open on Sunday afternoon. Sadly that part of the Vegetable garden where Coir was applied sometime last year, is now where Moles go to learn ballet dancing. Which I'd guess is some sort of a tribute.