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Submissions/Environment and Encyclopedia: How to write about green issues from a global perspective?

After careful consideration, the Programme Committee has decided not to accept the below submission at this time. Thank you to the author(s) for participating in the Wikimania 2015 programme submission, we hope to still see you at Wikimania this July.

Submission no.
Title of the submission

Environment and Encyclopedia: How to write about green issues from a global perspective?

Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)


Author of the submission

Toter Alter Mann

E-mail address



Toter Alter Mann

Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)

LMU Munich, Institute for Sociology/Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

While flora and fauna of North America and temperate Eurasia are often covered to a satisfactory extent on bigger Wikipedias, the geography, nature, climate, and environmental history of much of South America, Africa, and Southern Asia are strongly underrepresented on almost all editions, despite a body of extensive research literature and the concentration of biodiversity on the southern hemisphere. The same goes for political issues connected to the environment, such as distribution of resources, vulnerability to natural disasters, and the effects of globalized economic and environmental integration. This is in conflict with Wikimedia's aim of promoting education worldwide, and it precludes most people outside of North America and Europe from participationg in the political debate on environmental conflicts, especially those transcending the north-south divide. In my talk, I will try to outline the general problem - lack of educational resources in much of the Global South and a primarily national focus in most editions rooted in the West/North - and to discuss some possible solutions to the problem, including their shorcomings and costs. The aim is to raise awareness of the increasingly transnational nature of environmental issues which requires cooperation between several communities and languages.

My presentation will include:

  • A global overview of the state of coverage of environmental topics on Wikipedia, combined with an analysis of the factors causing the north-south divide within the project
  • An outhline of why this matters for the project and its audience: blind spots within the encyclopedic content, education on biodiversity and conservation, participation in political debates about distribution and access to natural resources, and the increasingly global nature of environmental issues.
  • Suggestions for the problem: increasing exchange between national Wikimedia communities, promoting cross-border meetups, subscribing to a transnational focus despite monolingualism, actively checking for hidden geographic bias
  • Potential shortcomings of each of the possible solutions: scarcity of resources (time, contributors, money) within the project, geographic and linguistic obstacles, arguments for a decidedly national focus especially within the small Wikipedias
  • Enough time to discuss the topic with the audience
  • WikiCulture & Community (if requested, I could also specifically frame the the talk in the context of Spanish speaking countries for the first category)
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

If my application for scholarship is accepted, yes

Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 22:46, 16 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. As someone with a lot of interest in biology and environmental science. CT Cooper · talk 17:57, 1 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Ocaasi (talk) 17:54, 3 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Man77 (talk) 20:19, 3 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Add your username here.