COBALT is the Collaborative for Bioregional Action Learning & Transformation
Our Vision is A Deeper Sense of Place: Seeing, Connecting and Amplifying Change
COBALT is ALL About Co-Creating A Story Of Place
Instead of asking ‘what’ is the place in which I live, the COBALT Learning Journey is about embarking on a process of discovering ‘who’ is this remarkable land, air and water. A COBALT Learning Journey can be applied anywhere and features a process of learning how to see the patterns that regenerates life, which then reveals its potential. This opens up exploration, careful observation, learning how to see together. Here in the Casco Bay Bioregion, nested within the Gulf of Maine on the Western Shore of the Atlantic Ocean, the exploration of its identity requires a long view.
We can begin with explosions 500 million years ago, with some the largest volcanos ever known on earth creating unimaginable mountains, followed by eons of transforming, ‘weathering’ reshaping the land, rivers and waters into what we see today. This is a journey of guided imagination, to “fly” from the top of Mount Washington down the mighty Saco, Androscoggin, Presumpscot Rivers, and dive deep into the lakes along the way like Sebago, and splash in the estuaries of the Royal and Stroudwater as you approach the archipelago of Casco Bay. This land is source of life for indigenous peoples who have lived here for time immemorial, yes a source of clothes, food, energy and water – but perhaps more importantly, the place and the people were interconnected in a way that is more like family, a sense of song and belonging together.
Today, after 600 years of colonization and patterns of development, we are learning how to see the great benefits and the potential as well as the many costs, fractures and scars that abound in society and ecosystems all around us. As we navigate ahead, we can begin to see how we are crossing tipping points where our life support systems are at risk. Casco Bay Bioregion (like other bioregions across the globe) is nested within other wide systems. Here we are nested within the Gulf of Maine, now famous for being one of the most rapidly warming systems on the planet, second only to the Arctic.
Regenerating the health and adapting to the future of this bioregion requires working with the patterns of life that support its thriving as a whole socio-ecological system. Discovering these patterns, its essence, the unique nature is the focus on our community-based scholarship, creating a Bioregional Data Lab or a Transformations Lab (T-Lab) and creating a pathway to what could be the world’s first Bioregional Digital Twin.
This Learning Journey is one of imagination and direct action, an opportunity to be together as part of a global movement! We are in collaboration with communities in Colombia, Scotland, Iceland, Peru, Benin etc. Our vision is to provide navigation for journeys of guided imagination to build relationships between people and place and work together to discover unique potential, identify and explore new possibilities for collective practice and experience the authentic wholeness of place. We will appreciate and will learn how to better see, connect and amplify the innovations already well underway in food, fiber, energy, water, waste, and tourism as well as take the time that is needed to let go of what needs to change and build renewal of our love of place and the wholeness and patterns of life.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
—T.S. Eliot, from “Little Gidding,” Four Quartets (Gardners Books; Main edition, April 30, 2001) Originally published 1943.
Listening to the Seagrass Meadows
While we could start anywhere, the COBALT Learning Journey begins underwater, deep within the seagrass meadows. We begin by listening to these stunning flowering plants, super heroes of our ecosystem yet they remain hidden fro out imagination and attention. The journey of guided imagination begins with us not just learning about seagrass meadows and their amazing benefits but also becoming them! To experience the wholeness of this bioregion, we begin the journey inside these stunning ecosystems to sense wider inter-relationships across systems such as food, fiber, waste and water and to start to experience the wholeness of this place. Join us in Team Zostera, (an initiative of COBALT) as we engage with scholars, indigenous leaders, creative artists, philosophers and more in transforming our world toward a more just, equitable and regenerative future.
January 10-12, 2024
1st Bioregional Data Lab a Major Success
The first Casco Bay Seagrass Mapping Workshop using R and GIS: Bioregional Data Lab was a big success and others will follow!
The event was located at and hosted by the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education, Forest Avenue, Portland, ME.
Some of our Partners :
Thank you to our SPONSORS for the support in the development of the Transformations 2023 Bioregional Workshop.