Dig shows Irish monks strove to be "green"

Archaeologists working on a dig at the Cistercian Bective Abbey in Co Meath, Ireland believe they have evidence of the country's first environmentalists. The abbey monks, dependent on handouts from their neighbors, worked hard to become as self sufficient as possible.

“They were the first monastic order to become self-sufficient. Until then, monasteries had been dependent on receiving food as gifts from local lords. The Cistercians at Bective Abbey were far more sustainable, as they farmed 4,000 acres of land, processed their own corn and began a programme of land reclamation,” said Dr Geraldine Stout of the Archaeological Survey of Ireland.