Ruby Olsson

PhD Student

Ruby is a social scientist doing her PhD on the socio-economic impacts of snow gum dieback in the Australian Alps and possible response options, including a comparative case study of whitebark pine dieback in North America. Part of this research will include how snow gums affect water yield in Australian Alps catchments (and therefore impact Snowy Hydro and users downstream in the Murray-Darling Basin), and how dieback might impact alpine tourism, recreational users, regional towns, and connection to country for First Nations. Ruby is particularly interested in how people make adaptation decisions and what the socio-economic implications of possible response options to dieback are. This will involve exploring concepts of futures literacy, resilience thinking, and decision-making frameworks such as the resist-accept-direct (RAD) framework.

Ruby has an undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from ANU, and her first foray into environmental science was researching the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB). Her honours thesis at the Fenner School examined the role of communities in making adaptation decisions, using a case study of the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District in the MDB. Ruby now works part-time at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in the Basin Plan Review Strategy and Integration team, while undertaking her PhD.

Research interests

  • Climate adaptation
  • Futures literacy
  • Resilience thinking
  • Decision-making frameworks (including the Resist-Accept-Direct [RAD] framework)
  • Deliberative democracy

Wyborn, C. A., L. E. van Kerkhoff, M. J. Colloff, J. Alexandra, and R. Olsson. 2023. The politics of adaptive governance: water reform, climate change, and First Nations’ justice in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin. Ecology and Society 28(1):4.