Professor Ian Lowe AO is former Head of School of Science and currently Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University in Brisbane. He is also an adjunct Professor at Sunshine Coast University and Flinders University.
The author of 20 books and more than 500 other publications, Professor Lowe’s contributions to environmental science have won him a Centenary Medal, the Eureka Prize for promotion of Science, the Prime Minister’s Environment Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, the Queensland Premier’s Millennium Award for Excellence in Science, and the University of NSW Alumni Award for Achievement in Science. Professor Lowe was named Humanist of the Year in 1988 and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001.
He has also been a referee for the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change and attended the Geneva and Kyoto Conferences of the parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change and was also a member of the delegation to the 1999 UNESCO World Conference on Science.
In 1988 Professor Lowe was a Director of the Commission for the Future. In 1996 he was chairperson of the Advisory Council producing the first National Report on the State of Australia’s Environment. One of his principal interests is the way policy decisions influence use of science and technology, especially in the fields of energy and environment. Professor Lowe has made countless contributions to newspapers, radio, television and periodicals since 1991. He presented the ABC’s Boyer Lectures in 1991 and was a member of the advisory group for Brisbane’s ‘Ideas at the Powerhouse’ for the four years of that event. He is a member of the board of Major Brisbane Festivals Ltd and is President of Queensland Academy of the Arts and Sciences.
He was Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) President from 2004 to 2014. Professor Lowe utilised his time as head of ACF using his status, as one of the World’s foremost scientists, to promote awareness of Climate Change in Australia and the World.
In 2009 he was awarded the International Academy of Science’s Konrad Lorenz Gold Medal carrying the title: ‘Hope for the Future: for a Sustainable World’.
A Cricket-Playing Scientist.
In his spare time, Professor Lowe plays cricket, as probably the oldest serious outswing bowler in Queensland club cricket. In 2013 he was part of Australia’s first over-70’s cricket team to tour England, and while the match pace might be a little slower it was still a demanding tour. “We played seven counties in England’s over-70’s competition; and another three matches against the combined England side. We pitted ourselves against the best geriatrics England can put on the paddock,” Professor Lowe said. He has also represented Queensland every year since the State joined the Over-60s competition, and plays over-40s cricket for Sunshine Coast Antiquarians. But for all that, he points out that in 55 years of competitive cricket he has only achieved one century and one tenfer.“I’ve always been a scientist who enjoyed playing cricket rather than someone who sees cricket as his life’s work,” Professor Lowe said.
A Singing Professor
Professor Lowe also sings tenor in choral groups, walks in the Australian bush and overseas mountains, reads voraciously, watches films and is trying to improve his golf game. He lives on the Sunshine Coast with his partner, Patricia Kelly. Between them they have three adult sons, aged between 20 and 30.
Since 1992, Professor Lowe has been a featured speaker in talks and in many, many forums at the GREENhouse venue at Woodford Folk Festival. He has consistently attracted a standing-room only audience. And since 2002 he has been a regular and popular participant in this festival’s GREAT GREEN DEBATE. He now regularly writes and sings in his light tenor voice a song as part of his argument. This has now become an audience expectation after he sang all the verses of Bob Dylan’s ‘Times are a Changin’ to a madly cheering audience in THE GREAT GREEN DEBATE 2006. He has also sung a political satire to the tune of Waltzing Matilda on ABC’s Science Show.
Ian was awarded the inaugural Order of Woodfordia in 2012 for 20 years of environmental commitment to Woodford and The GREENhouse.
“The future is not somewhere we are going but rather a place we create by our own actions — or inactions — now.”