Xiaolan Wang is a climate scientist for Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) who has worked all over the world in climatology.
Xiaolan studied for her Hydrometeorology Bachelor and Master’s degrees in China before pursuing her PhD in climatology in Germany and Portugal.
Her education and passion for meteorology led to her current job at ECCC as an expert in climate data sets.
“The work I do matters to Canadians because it produces high-quality climate data sets and products and essential climate information — putting taxpayers’ money to use most efficiently,” Xiaolan says.
Her primary goal is to understand past, present and future climate trends so we have the information we need to battle climate change.
This research must be studied in the public sector because it is difficult for academia and private sector organizations to access the data, resources and funds necessary to conduct unbiased climate research.
“Most of my work is hardly doable in academic and private sectors because it needs a broad range of data and expert knowledge about the history, current status and standards of climate monitoring in Canada,” she says.
According to Xiaolan, the public sector ensures due process to guarantee the quality of research when determining a global action plan against climate change.
“The work needs to be done in a systematic and sustained manner, and it needs long-term commitment,” she says.
Without a consistent data process conducted by skilled scientists, artificial data would slip through the cracks and drastically alter our knowledge about climate change.
However, scientists like Xiaolan make sure errors like these don’t happen.
Our scientists need sustainable working conditions and work-life balance. As a mother of two, Xiaolan appreciates the work flexibility that being a union member provides.
“Having the opportunity to maintain work-life balance is very important for women in science,” she says. “I’m grateful that we have flexible work hours and telework arrangements in our collective agreements.”
Most public scientists have heavy workloads, but according to Xiaolan, having union support means having access to helpful work and travel approvals, useful technology, and resources always at their fingertips.
“It’s always good to know that there is union support for you and that there is someone you can talk to for help or advice when you need it,” she says.
Canada must remain a leader in climate action — and it starts with our public scientists.
Canada is lucky to have scientists like Xiaolan for the work they do to save our oceans and ecosystems.