Being one of the three women recognised for her research efforts that may potentially save the lives of millions by tackling large-scale global challenges, Dr Teh Su Yean is a huge advocate for unifying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Dr Teh's dedication bagged her a position as L'Oreal-UNESCO's Women In Science 2017. Her first focus and priority is to protect Malaysia's coastal resources. We sit down with the self-proclaimed introvert to discuss the local marine environment, women in STEM, and common misconceptions.
Is climate change the sole (or major) culprit when it comes to Malaysia’s coastal resources?
In my opinion, human intervention in the name of development is the major culprit.
How can we scale up efforts to bring a broader positive impact on Malaysia’s marine environment?
This is hard. When the bad things are not happening right in their backyard, people don’t usually care. So I think there are two types of approach hard and softthat we can undertake here. But this requires unwavering commitment from both the Society and the Government. Hard approach has to do with strictly and consistently imposing and implementing regulations to protect our marine environment. Do not take the attitude of “We care only if it happens tomorrow!”
The soft approach is through education. Educating the kids from young age and hoping that they will in turn educate their parents and future generations about the wonders and beauty of our marine environment. Help our future generations understand that if you lose Nature, no amount of money is going to bring her back in the same form ever again.