Dr Con Lokkers
Con is an ecologist who combines a professional career in environmental science with a private passion for the sustainable management of our planet’s natural resources.
Con’s childhood in Redcliffe and regular family trips to surrounding national parks began his life-long love of nature and his interest in the living world. He moved to Townsville to continue his education and worked on a variety of ecological research projects in tropical Queensland. His growing awareness of human impacts on the environment led him to volunteering in Landcare and other environmental action groups and assisting in the development of local, regional and state environmental strategies. He co-founded an ecological consultancy company in 1997 that focused on improving environmental outcomes in north Queensland, then returned to south-east Queensland in 2006 to continue his consultancy career.
Over his career, Con has worked for government, industry and the community across a broad range of environments in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. His work has included ecological research and surveys, environmental impact assessments and management plans, evaluation of climate change impacts on biodiversity, identification of locally and regionally significant values, training and coordination of workshops. This broad experience allows Con to appreciate different stakeholder perspectives and achieve pragmatic solutions through collaboration and negotiation. Through his work with industry groups such as the resource and energy sectors, he understands the need to develop and promote new innovative approaches to ensure a smooth transition from a carbon economy to sustainable alternative industries.
Con is a keen traveller who enjoys bushwalking and photographing remote natural areas in Australia and overseas. His travels have stimulated his love of the natural world but also highlighted the rising cumulative impacts of human civilisation on our fragile ecosystems. “Our entire biosphere, that contains all living organisms and all the resources to support life, forms a miniscule soap-bubble thin layer around our planet”, Con notes. “If we don’t protect this layer, we risk losing our functioning ecosystems, our biodiversity and ultimately our own children.”
Con is concerned by our current existential crisis but believes that we can repair our planet by modifying our activities at local, regional, national and global scales. “People ask me why Australia should act on a global issue as we are such a small fraction of the planet’s population. I believe that Australia is a global thought leader and that our actions provide an example to the rest of the world. Climate models and a growing body of objective evidence clearly illustrate the risk of climate change, but also provide people across the world with an opportunity to collaborate on the first truly global initiative. Scientists, engineers, politicians, land managers, industry leaders and community members can all contribute to ensuring humans are responsible custodians of our living planet.”