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Water and Air
I work under the Water and Air Theme, looking at the cryosphere components of the water cycle and other hydrological and geomorphological processes in the HKH region. I, along with my team, have conducted extensive field work and we are now busy trying to tie a number of datasets together to better understand what path water is taking from the sky, through ice, snow and soil to finally reach the big rivers and the ocean again. Along the way we also look at how glaciers develop and at hazards associated with high mountain environments.
Jakob Friedrich Steiner
How do you protect the pulse of the planet?
I try to live with an awareness of and consideration for my environment. “Environment” includes both nature and other human beings. Growing up on a farm I learned early on where food comes from and I try to keep that connection in the way I consume, wherever I live, making a conscious choice about what I consume. Through my work, I try to communicate to others how we can understand the planet as a system and how it is going to change due to our current behaviour. While we try to be better inhabitants of our planet I think it is even more important to take care of other people around us. People will only be able to make active choices for the planet if they are healthy, happy and self-confident. So I try to be there for others and help them in whatever way I can.
What is your favourite part of the work you do at ICIMOD?
ICIMOD is a diverse working place – people come from different professional and cultural backgrounds. I enjoy the research we do only as long as I can see the human component in it, because all climate and water research we do, we claim to do for the sake of humans.
What are you passionate about?
Food and music mainly. Also, having worked in an area for many years, I have enjoyed exploring the history of our environment/landscape and witnessing the rapid changes it has undergone.
I hold a master’s degrees in environmental engineering from ETH Zurich in Switzerland, with a focus on hydrology and hydraulic engineering. I also have a degree in classical music from Innsbruck, Austria, and played at concerts all over Europe and in Canada. Before finishing my studies I lived and worked in Pakistan, where I was involved in reconstruction efforts after a big earthquake in Kashmir and later in development projects, including vocational training in Kashmir and a basic health unit on the border with Afghanistan. I also worked for a solid waste management company in a number of European countries as well as the UAE. After my MSc degree in Switzerland I worked for a consultancy company with projects in Central Asia and China. As a water professional I have made numerous field trips to Nepal, China, Greenland, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, as well as done local work in Switzerland. I speak German, Dutch, English, Italian, and Hindi. I have published and presented research in numerous journals and conferences.