As things stand, there are large gaps in information about climate change on Wikipedia, and the content we do have is heavily weighted in US and European data. What’s more, it’s clear with only a quick search that information about policy and technology is often out of date. These factors convey a greater sense of uncertainty around climate data than is warranted by recent developments.
At Wikimedia UK, we believe that addressing Wikipedia’s gaps will better inform people about climate action. Wikipedia is the ideal platform for unbiased, cited climate information, as it already has a global audience of billions. It exists in over 300 languages and has an established, dedicated volunteer editing community of nearly 300,000 editors and contributors. The 59 million articles these editors create and maintain are accessed by over 1.5 billion unique devices every single month. We bought Climate and Environment into our 2022-25 Strategic themes to ensure a core focus on addressing the gaps. Consequently, we’re delighted to announce we have launched our first-ever climate residency in partnership with the University of Exeter.
Tatjana Baleta has been recruited as Wikimedia Visiting Fellow at the University of Exeter, within the Global Systems Institute (GSI) academic community. Embedded within this centre of excellence for climate research, Tatjana will work alongside several world-leading climate scientists, including those at the UK Met Office with whom the GSI has a strategic partnership. She will also be amongst researchers from other disciplines who are looking into climate impacts, climate justice, biodiversity and energy.
Tatjana is a conservationist and science communicator with an interest in the power of knowledge to drive change. She has a BSc in Ecology & Evolution and Genetics and a BMedSc(Hons) in Cell Biology. With a growing understanding of the global environmental crisis, she also completed an MPhil in Conservation Leadership, which she then applied to her conservation career. Tatjana is passionate about sharing her love for the natural world, and particularly about using that communication to instigate positive change.
Dr Andy Richards, Manager at GSI said of the partnership “We are very excited to be working with Wikimedia UK and the Wikimedia community, and hosting Tatjana as the first ever Wikimedia Visiting Fellow focused on climate change. We are passionate about providing unbiased and open information and making it as widely accessible as possible. Wikipedia is a powerful resource to do this.”
Well-known Wikipedian and climate change researcher Dr Femke Nijsse outlined how important Tatjana’s work is: “Wikipedia plays a key role in overcoming polarisation, but this is only possible when its content is of high quality. Involving academics means that errors and biases can be spotted and resolved more rapidly.”
If you’d like to get in touch with Tatjana, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.