Interview of the Week: Michelle Olson

A 2018 Pew poll found that 43% of U.S. adults say they often or sometimes play video games. With so many people–and young people specifically— spending time gaming, wouldn’t it be great if games taught values like respect for nature? That’s where Michelle Olson comes in, a video game designer of the new game Beasts of Maravilla Island that encourages conservation and exploration of the natural world as well as the digital one. Take a listen to what it means to be a “values-driven designer” and how nature inspired Michelle to build this stunning new world:

The biggest reason why I wanted to make this game is that I’m a huge lover of the natural world and also a lover of video games. But I’ve always been so disappointed at the lack of opportunity in video games to engage with magical creatures in non-violent ways. Even games that have a positive spin on magical creatures, like Pokémon, you’re battling them! That’s kind of how it is in a lot of video games and it breaks my heart.

I really wanted to make a game where you can experience the wonder, awe, and joy, of these magical creatures but celebrate them and appreciate them instead of engaging with them in violent ways.”

Up Next

Meet 3 Women Working on the Frontline of Ocean Conservation

Meet 3 Women Working on the Frontline of Ocean Conservation

by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The earliest iteration of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was founded in 1977 to “defend, conserve and protect our ocean.” Meet three women, featured by Vogue, who are carrying out the organization’s mission: Eva Hidalgo: 31-year-old Spanish scientist who was part of the team that possibly identified a new […]

Continue Reading 375 words
A Cloud Over Sunshine State Solar

A Cloud Over Sunshine State Solar

by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer A bill sitting on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk could take away local government’s decision-making about their energy choices, including where to build large-scale solar arrays. The outcome will impact the historically Black town of Archer, where Origis Energy and Gainesville Regional Utilities want to build a 50-megawatt solar […]

Continue Reading 431 words

Rethinking Urban Freeways with Rep. Nikema Williams

The American Jobs Plan is an unmissable moment for communities across the country to address the legacy of urban freeways and set a new course for a more equitable future. It’s absolutely critical that as we begin to reimagine and build the transportation infrastructure of the 21st century that we do not repeat the mistakes […]

Continue Reading 185 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.