Watermelon Snow: Science, art and a lone polar bear

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Join us to learn about and engage with SFU biologist Lynne Quarmby’s new book, Watermelon Snow.

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Watermelon Snow: Science, art, and a lone polar bear

From the vantage of a schooner full of scientists in the High Arctic, Lynne Quarmby weaves memoir, microbiology, and art in a reflection on climate change, science, and ethical obligation. Reflecting on a work described as ‘brimming with intelligence, love, and sorrow’, and a ‘song of both love and grief’, an interdisciplinary panel comprising a political scientist, poet, climate scientist, cell biologist, and legal scholar join in conversation.

Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm


Nicholas Blomley, Simon Fraser University, Geography

Nick Blomley is Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University, with an interest in law, property and power. He really likes Lynne’s book.


Lynne Quarmby, Professor, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University

As a cell biologist, Lynne studied the molecular machinery of motility and sensation. In 2016, her work pivoted to an ecological exploration of the climate-threatened microbiome living on the surface of alpine summer snow.

Kathryn Harrison, Professor, Political Science, University of British Columbia

Prof. Harrison studies environmental, climate, and energy policy, federalism, and comparative public policy. A frequent media commentator and policy advisor, she is the author of the book Passing the buck: federalism and Canadian environmental policy, and co-author of Risk, science, and politics.

Stephen Collis, Professor, English, Simon Fraser University

Prof. Stephen Collis’s many books of poetry include The Commons, On the Material, DECOMP, Once in Blockadia, and A History of the Theories of Rain.

Kirsten Zickfeld, Distinguished Professor of Climate Science, Simon Fraser University.

Prof. Zickfeld’s research focuses on the effects of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols on climate on multi-centennial timescales. Her aim is to better understand the response of the climate system to forcing and the interactions between climate system components (the atmosphere, ocean, land surface, biosphere and cryosphere) in order to improve predictions for the future.

Grace Nosek, Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia

Grace Nosek is Founder and Student Director of the University of British Columbia Climate Hub. She is a PhD Candidate in Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia studying how to use law to protect climate change science from manufactured doubt. She is a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholar and a Killam doctoral scholar, and a past Canada-U.S. Fulbright recipient. She holds a B.A. from Rice University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and an LL.M from UBC. Drawing from her research, Grace creates hopeful climate narratives, including the Ava of the Gaia trilogy, Climate Comeback, and Planet Potluck.

Martha Cyert, Professor, Biology, Stanford

A distinguished cell biologist whose research explores the molecular circuitry modulating muscle, immune and neural cells, Prof. Cyert’s discoveries include elucidation of the molecular mechanism of immunosuppression. Martha is recognized for excellence in both research and teaching. In addition to her work at Stanford, Martha has taught cell biology workshops in Ghana.

Am Johal, Director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement and Co-Director of SFU's Community Engaged Research Initiative. He is the author of Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene and co-author with Matt Hern and Joe Sacco of Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale.

Access Notes

This event will take place on Zoom. There will be live captioning available during the event.

Those attending will be invited to optionally interact with each other in digital spaces outside of Zoom using an internet browser.

This event takes place in a Zoom webinar that is slightly different from standard Zoom meetings. Attendees will not be on camera and they will not have their microphones enabled. They will not be able to see each other’s faces in the room, but they will be able to see the names of attendees in the participant menu. The only people visible in the space are the speakers and moderator.

A Zoom link and login details will be shared with all registered attendees in the days leading up to the event. Those details will include options for calling in to the webinar using a phone or digital device.

There will be notes, resources, and a video recording of the session shared after the event.

If you have accessibility needs or questions that you would like to take up with CERi staff, please contact Joanna Habdank at

Technical Requirements

This event will take place on Zoom. We will share a link in the chat to an additional, optional digital space that attendees can use on their internet browser to engage with each other.

To engage fully with the event, you will need:

  • A stable internet connection
  • A laptop, desktop computer, tablet device, or smartphone with a keyboard
  • Speakers or headphones

Attendees will not need their microphones to participate in the event. We welcome audience members to call into the event using a phone or digital device.

Eventbrite will circulate the meeting link, including call-in information, to event registrants only in the days prior to the event.

This event will be recorded and shared after the event date on SFU CERi’s website.

Community Agreements

  • We are gathering in a spirit of mutual support and respect for each other. We acknowledge the diverse learning journeys we are all on.
  • We are listening to learn.
  • We accept and expect non-closure.
  • We are leaving our assumptions at the door in order to facilitate a non-judgmental space for dialogue.
  • We don’t assume pronouns, gender, or other identifiers based on someone’s username or video image.
  • There is zero tolerance for those promoting violence on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or ability. Anyone inciting harm towards other participants in this webinar (via chat or other webinar functions) will be removed at the discretion of our technical team and moderator.
  • Questions in the Q&A feature and the chat will be tracked throughout the presentation and be posed to the presenters about halfway through our time together.
  • If you are addressing your question to a particular speaker, address them using “@name” at the beginning of your message.
  • Please use the Zoom Q&A feature for questions. Please do not use the Zoom chat for questions, as we may not be able to see them.
  • Due to limited time, we may not be able to get to everyone who asks a question.
  • This session will be recorded and will be posted on the CERi website ( for those who can’t attend live.
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