Monaghan Ecological Group in Action on Local and International Front

One hundred young activists from across Europe, USA, Canada and Nigeria gathered recently in Lofoten, Norway, to exchange skills, motivate each other and support the local community in their campaign to prevent oil drilling off the stunningly beautiful Lofoten coast. Their message was clear – ‘keep the oil in the soil!’ Mícheál Callaghan, of Monaghan Ecological Group attended the event and reflects on what was an inspiring week at the Young Friends of the Earth gathering in the Arctic Circle.


Some of the participants of the recent Young Friends of the Earth Europe Summer Camp in Lofoten, Norway, carrying  the banner “No Oil In The Arctic”. Included in this picture is Mícheál Callaghan, co – founder of Monaghan Ecological Group.

The various participants, all of whom are involved are involved in different projects and actions in their home countries, are united by one goal, that of a fossil free, positive future for the planet and its citizens. Norway, a country of just over 5 million people, contributes 2 per cent of global carbon emissions from its large oil industry.

As well as partaking in a variety of skill sharing and planning workshops, participants heard inspiring stories from committed activists in their struggles against the powerful fossil fuel industry. Environmental Rights Action, from Nigeria, spoke of the mass violations of human rights and environmental laws caused by the fossil fuel industry’s exploitation of natural resources in Nigeria. Despite having the 31st highest GDP in the world, Nigerians have a life expectancy of only 47 years. The oil industry there is huge, with locals seeing few of the benefits. Due to corruption, a lack of education and extreme poverty, companies pay little attention to regulations, many of which are not enforced, leading to serious environmental damage. Participants were told how Nigeria loses 500,000 barrels of oil per day in spills, equivalent to 1 Exxon Valdez per year.

Nnimo Bassey, former chair of Friends of the Earth International, gave an emotional and rousing speech on Friday evening. He recalled fondly, a recent visit to Ireland, where he was impressed by the actions of the local communities in Rossport and Leitrim who are engaged in campaigns to stop gas extraction and fracking. Bassey stated that given the present knowledge and gravity of the climate situation, a new drill site is akin to a crime scene and must be seen as a crime against nature and the planet.

While some may be critical of the long journeys participants had to take in order to reach Lofoten, overall the benefit outweighed the negatives in terms of the motivation generated and networks created throughout the week.  It was great to see and be part of a growing movement of young people from around the world, who are committed to taking action at every level to avoid the worst case scenario of climate change and secure a better future. I left the camp with new ideas, insights and a lot of inspiration, that just maybe, with collective action, it might be possible to take on the giants of the fossil fuel industry!

To read more about the summer camp and the work of Friends of the Earth Europe go to  If you would like to contribute to a more positive, low carbon future for Monaghan, why not get involved with Monaghan Ecological Group? Look us up on Facebook or contact

Monaghan Ecological Group (MEG)

ImageMonaghan Ecological Group (MEG) is part of the world wide Transition Town movement. The transition town movement is a response to the social, economic and ecological crisis which are the results of climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap fossil energy. The transition town movement recognises the great challenges that will be faced by society as a result and seeks to foster a community led response to these challenges by building resilient, sustainable and fulfilling local communities in which to live. We will all have to live with less energy in the future, however it is possible to do so in a way which actually enhances happiness and community cohesion.

The transition town movement is aptly named as it is about helping communities in transition to this new paradigm. It focuses on building ways of living that are more connected than ever and that operate within the ecological limits of our planet. The transition town movement is a bottom up initiative which empowers local people, independent of centralised decision making, to make positive changes to their community, without waiting on someone else to implement these measures for us. This transition will face us all and it is vital that as a community we can pool our resources, skills and knowledge to make this transition as effective as possible.

MEG focuses on building links with local bodies and other local interest groups as well as local representatives and politicians to ensure that there is cohesion in the transition to a low energy, sustainable society. There are many ways that this can be done and anyone who has a special skill or interest is highly encouraged to become part of this movement for the future of our community.

The main activities and areas that the group focus on are food growth and security, education as well as empowering people with various skills needed to make the transition and the establishment of links and contacts with local businesses to bring them on board. There are many successful transition town organisations around the globe and more can be found out about this movement on the website of the transition network –   www.

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We also have a dropbox a/c containing more information regarding events and meetings the group has/will hold.  For details on how to access this account please email MEG.