Zita Cobb

Entrepreneur, Founder Shorefast Foundation

The Possibility of Fogo Island

“We must disturb the present in order to sustain the future – because our present situation is not sustainable,” says Zita Cobb. The former CFO in the fiber optics industry feels the world needs to change, starting with the island of her birth, Fogo Island, off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Like most young islanders, she headed to the mainland at an early age to study and pursue a career. She was so successful that she was able to take early retirement and spend four years sailing around the world. Her encounters with other cultures taught her the value of her own origin. She returned to Fogo Island, where she set up the Shorefast Foundation which aims to revitalize Fogo Island and the nearby Change Islands.

“The key is finding a new connection with the modern world,” says Cobb. “We must find ways to align our resources – whether from the sea, the land or from our individual imaginations and creativity – with market opportunities.”

The islands offer a wealth of cultural traditions and crafts, and the Shorefast Foundation has initiated numerous projects in the local community to transform the islands into a magnet for culture-loving tourists. This has given a community in decline the power to take bold steps towards a sustainable future.

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