Meena was the first woman of colour to graduate in geology in South Africa during apartheid. After a few years of research in industry, and then curation, she was awarded the Mandela scholarship from LSE to complete her MSc in London. Her PhD in geography at Cambridge University (Newnham College), was interdisciplinary and examined the relative influences of geological, historical, environmental and socio-political contributors to soil erosion. Meena has fieldwork experience in southern Africa, the Mediterranean and eastern Australia. She had a post-doc fellowship at Clare Hall where she worked in a broader project on Environmental Security at the Centre for History and Economics (King’s College). She initiated a seminar series called “Documenting Environmental Change” together with Paul Warde, which encouraged the participation of scholars from across the discipline-divide, and arguably contributed to the development of Environmental History at Cambridge. Research work at the Stockholm Environment Institute, coupled with work at the Land & Agriculture Policy Centre enabled Meena to contribute to the drafting of the Green Paper on Environmental Policy for the then newly elected Mandela government in South Africa.
Until recently, Meena taught at Anglia Ruskin (Environmental Sustainability), supervised (geography) and taught in Cambridge, was a Research Associate at the Centre for African Studies, external examiner for CISL, consulted for the past 2 decades (EU Research Division and environmental NGOs), and worked for Global Invasive Species Programme. Not-for-profit work in Cambridge included the Harambee Centre, Cambridge to Africa and the Phelopepa Health Train project. Meena uses her lived experience as an international student, then researcher and parent in Cambridge to help her in her role as tutor and hopes to strengthen her links in college for future research collaboration in environmental history and climate change.