I currently teach a course on communicating climate change as part of the MA in Science Writing Programme at Johns Hopkins University. The course examines the challenge of effectively communicating climate change to the wider public. Human-caused climate change is the biggest environmental challenge of our time. Scientists have known the origin of this problem for decades, but society has failed to address it, making dangerous climate change a very likely future possibility. Climate change has become a politically charged, polarising topic. This course takes students through the history of climate denial and misinformation, teaching them the fundamentals of writing for different audiences in ways that engage, inform and inspire their readers. Prior to joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins as an adjunct lecturer, I taught science communication and the critical evaluation of science at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland during a two-year Science Writer Residency in 2017 and 2018. 

In Conversation

Over the past 15 years, I have been honoured to speak at world-class research centres and meetings across Europe, the US and Asia, such as at NASA in New York and the UN City in Copenhagen.  I have also been delighted to host panel discussions and one-to-one conversations among leaders in the fields of sustainable business, ocean policy and climate change.  If you’d like me to give a talk or host a conversation, reach out at olive@oliveheffernan.com.

In Print

I am currently writing my first book about the high seas – that half of our planet that is ocean belonging to no one – for Profile Books UK and for Greystone Books North America.

This book explores the history of the High Seas and our complex relationship with this half of our planet, from our desire to explore and exploit it to a growing willingness to defend it. Our entry into the 21st Century has seen mounting efforts to explore the High Seas. The question facing humanity today is whether we will manage to create a more harmonious relationship with Earth’s last wilderness. In 2019, I received the Giles St Aubyn Award for my work on this forthcoming non-fiction book from the Royal Society of Literature in the UK.