Olivia Rosane is a freelance writer and reporter with a decade’s worth of experience. She has been contributing to EcoWatch daily since 2018 and has also covered environmental themes for Treehugger, The Trouble, YES! Magazine and Real Life. Her Real Life essay “Breaking the Waves” — about the eerily neat aesthetics of climate change projection graphics — was chosen to appear in the published anthology What Future 2018 from Unnamed Press.
To process the daily deluge of sometimes distressing news she covers, Olivia also writes poetry grappling with the climate and biodiversity crises. Her poems have appeared in Epilogue Magazine and can also be found on her website (Un)Nature Poems.com. Her poem “How Do You Want the World to End?” was featured in the video Dark Vision, which was a finalist at the Cannes World Film Festival.
Olivia holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Cambridge and a master’s in Art and Politics from Goldsmiths, University of London. For her master’s, she completed a creative dissertation imagining sustainable communities surviving in post-climate-change London.
Olivia first learned to love the natural world as a child growing up in rural Vermont without a television. Instead, the outside world was her entertainment–from diving into leaf piles in the fall to tunneling through snow banks in the winter; from searching the woods for trilliums in the spring to searching the stars for fireflies in the summer. The experience gave her a lifelong reverence for the rhythm of the seasons and the many plants, mushrooms and animals that share this planet with us. Since then, she has lived in Seattle, Spain, New York, and London, but, wherever she is, she seeks out the wildest area she can find and goes for a long walk.
What got you into journalism?
I learned the basics of journalism by working for my college newspaper. At the time, I wanted to be a novelist and was looking to get some training in something I thought could be a potential day job, but I ended up stepping away from it so that I could participate in campus activism. I returned to it in 2018 because I wanted to do something about the climate crisis and thought the best way I personally could make a difference was by using my training and skills as a writer.
At the same time, I was aware that the mainstream news media did not give climate change the attention it deserves as one of the biggest stories in human and planetary history. (As of 2021, climate reporting only made up 1 percent of network TV programming in the U.S., according to Media Matters). Therefore, I decided to help fill in the gap.
What makes you interested in the environment?
I feel more at peace with myself and the universe when I am spending time in nature, but the environment is so much bigger than that. It’s about whether or not human communities have access to safe drinking water or clean air. It’s about whether a changing climate will support food production and whether insects emerge at the right time from hibernation to pollinate crops and flowers.
There really isn’t an aspect of human or nonhuman life that doesn’t rely on a healthy environment.
What environmental cause are you most passionate about, and why?
I am most passionate about issues relating to climate and environmental justice. With climate change and other environmental hazards, the people who did the least to cause the problem are often the most vulnerable to its effects, and I think this is fundamentally unfair and should be rectified. The inequalities of the climate crisis force us to look clearly at the legacies of colonialism and racial capitalism, and I hope we choose to do things differently as we work to resolve it.
What’s your favorite topic to cover?
I have two favorite topics to cover. The first is when ordinary people and communities come together to make a difference for the planet in big or small ways. I was ecstatic writing about the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline after years of grassroots and legal activism, for example.
However, as a poet myself, I also love reporting on how artists and writers make sense of this unprecedented moment. One story that combined my interest in climate justice and artistic expression was about the animated short film Footsteps on the Wind that illustrated the experience of children displaced by conflict and the climate crisis.