25-year-old Olivia Taylor (AKA Olivia Earth), is a truly inspiring and dedicated individual who started her first NPO at the age of 14, and is the founder and host of a sustainability focused podcast called Earthcast.
Olivia is a very social person, “I love talking to people. I love hearing their stories. I love learning from them.” From a young age Olivia began establishing her networking capabilities. One day in her early teens, she was out birdwatching with her father in pursuit of a particular species of vulture.
She recalls her younger self being dismayed about the elusiveness of the vulture, and after some research, discovered that this particular species was experiencing a decline in the area as farmers poisoned meat to kill off the birds which they incorrectly thought to be a threat to their livestock. So, 14-year-old Olivia started her first NPO, geared towards the conservation of the vultures.
Olivia quickly realised that it doesn’t matter how much you want to protect one species if it is their habitat that is under threat of being destroyed, because then everything is lost.
She started to understand that there was a bigger picture to consider and that the answers she sought didn’t lie in species conservation but came from a more holistic perspective. “I didn’t realise at the time that this is what is known as sustainability or complexity theory, how things that are seemingly unrelated work together in dynamic and wonderful ways,” she explains.
Olivia’s podcast is a passion project that happened almost by accident. While job hunting, she began reaching out to people that interested her on on social networks, inviting them for a quick chat. She would introduce herself and see if there were any similarities or synergies in their work. The resulting conversations with these strangers of interest proved to be incredibly stimulating and informative. She decided, “I need to record this stuff.”
Olivia was getting advice from experts in various fields and wanted to find a way to formalise these conversations in an attempt to share this valuable knowledge. The most logical step was to start a podcast. Olivia sees Earthcast as a platform for knowledge sharing and critical debates to proliferate freely to the public. This is important because the current conversations around sustainability are incredibly nuanced and complex, “They’re not binary, black and white.”
There are two questions that Olivia always asks her listeners.
The first one is about making trade offs between social environmental issues and profits. The answers to this first question have validated earlier feelings she had about trade offs while working as an ESG (Environmental Social Governance) analyst, in that you don’t actually need to make trade offs if you’re working in social enterprise.
The second question is: “What should I have asked you?” Olivia feels that there is always something that people want to say, but don’t have the opportunity or platform to express it in a formal setting. She says that this is where some of the most interesting conversations stem from.
Earthcast’s first year online featured 20 episodes and Olivia aims to release another 20 this year. The first 20 episodes can be found here.
Olivia currently works as an Investment and Sustainability Analyst at Neu Capital Africa and is the Chief Executive Officer at Four Elements Conservation. She also consults to three other incredible initiatives: Coaching for Cause, One Blue Ocean and Out here Worldwide.
Picture: @olivia_earth / Instagram