Q&A with Minerva Singh

What are you currently working on in your career?

At present, I am working on using multi-temporal remote sensing data for understanding the variation in the fire dynamics of the Amazonian biome and Indonesia’s peatlands. The research is being undertaken as part of two Imperial seed funds I won in 2020 and 2021 respectively. I recently published a paper in PeerJ from one of these projects. 

If you could meet one scientist past or present who would it be and why?

From the past, I would like to meet Thomas Edison. He was as much an entrepreneur as he was an inventor. His early life was shaped by his mother who saw his potential and became his pillar. My late mum too was my pillar. From the present, I would like to meet Elon Musk and discuss the use of drone tech for sustainability. 

If you could tell them one thing about your work what would it be?

It is rewarding and challenging at the same time. Owing to the increased proliferation of Big Earth Observation (EO) data we have a massive amount of information at our fingertips but channelizing that to inform practical sustainability measures and meet zero-deforestation commitments is a massive challenge. 

What would be your ultimate next career move?

A role in which I can combine academic research with startup-level innovation and contribute to government and corporate policy briefings. 

If you had one wish, what environmental issue would you solve and why?

Over the past few years, both sustainability and wellness have become massive social media phenomena. This has a direct impact on people’s lifestyle choices, including the adoption of different diets. Many of these Instagram influenced diets to include food items such as avocado and soy-based products which are touted as both health and planet-friendly choices. However many of these food items and perpetuate deforestation in the Global South. So I would like to be able to spread awareness about the environmental downsides of many of the best-loved IG food items and promote the cause of eating locally sourced foods and supporting small farms in one’s vicinity .