Science, Art, and a Lone Polar Bear
From the vantage of a schooner full of artists on an adventure in the high Arctic, biologist Lynne Quarmby explains how she became convinced of an urgent need to act on climate change. She recounts how this knowledge - and the fear and panic it elicited - plunged her into unsustainable action, ending in arrests, lawsuits, and a failed electoral campaign on behalf of the Green Party of Canada. Watermelon Snow weaves memoir, microbiology, and artistic antics together with descriptions of a sublime Arctic landscape. At the top of the warming world, Quarmby struggles with burnout and grief while an aerial artist twirls high in the ship's rigging, bearded seals sing mournfully, polar bears prowl, and glaciers crumble into the sea. In a compelling narrative, sorrow and fear are balanced by beauty and wonder. The climate realities are as dark as the Arctic winter, yet this is a book of lightness and generosity. Quarmby's voice, intimate and original, illuminates the science while offering a reminder that much about the human experience is beyond reason. Inspiring and deeply personal, Watermelon Snow is the story of finding life beyond despair.
About the Author
Finding Watermelon Snow
Watermelon Snow is available in libraries & bookstores. If you don't find it, most bookstores will special order for you.
In Canada, order on-line from Indigo.
In the U.S., order on-line while supporting local bookstores at Bookstore.org
In the UK, Europe, Middle East & Africa, order direct from the publisher MQUP via Bookshop
The Audiobook is now available in libraries and wherever you find your audiobooks. Click to sample.
Such is the power of the writing and the sense of an inspirational scientist and writer pushing her words into the world, that few readers will be able to make it to the end of Watermelon Snow without having been at least a little transformed.
Watermelon snow represents one of many feedback loops that are accelerating global heating, and this book is Quarmby’s remarkable response, generating a creative feedback loop to help us all find “life beyond despair.”
A literary and scientific tour de force, right from the incantatory opening poem by Mary Oliver (The Uses of Sorrow) to the final words, “I keep on, embracing the responsibility of being human at this singular moment in the history of the Earth.”
Quarmby writes intelligently in a style that lay readers will find accessible. Her voyage crystallizes her own inner contradictions.
Quarmby writes beautifully, with a particular fondness for colour. At times, she’s an endearingly geeky scientist...
... a moving book, eloquently dancing between the science and emotion that defines life in a warming world...
…Channeling passion and science into a "search for life beyond despair," Watermelon Snow is a powerful book.
… a must read for anyone concerned about the rapid changes taking place in the Arctic as it warms, and implications for the rest of the planet.
… this book is her bravest act yet - exposing a heart of knowing pain; a heart-breaking awareness of our collective unprocessed grief.
… a powerful expression of how a scientist learns to cope with the realities of climate change.
…brimming with intelligence, love and sorrow, into the Arctic, and into the heart of the climate change battle. Watermelon Snow is both a love song and a song of grief ... A moving and courageous memoir.
Alternately lyrical and literal, her exquisitely crafted writing does not comfort us, but it restores us to ourselves.
Panel discussion hosted by SFU's Community Engaged Research Initiative.
Weds, April 14 2021, 1 pm Pacific Register for Webinar here
Lecture: University of the Fraser Valley, GreenSPEAK series.
Thurs, March 30 2021, 1 pm Pacific Click here for YouTube video of event
Interview with Sheryl MacKay for North by Northwest, CBC Radio.
The interview aired on February 28 2021. You can hear the conversation here
Interview with Bill McKibben for The New Yorker.
See 'The Climate Crisis Newsletter' December 2, 2020.
Vancouver Maritime Museum Virtual Book Talk
This happened on November 25, 2020. You can watch the video here (talk starts at 5:35).
Gabriola Island Book Launch
This happened Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 31/Nov. 1, on Gabriola Island. It was a fun drop-in literary event with an installation and special guests. We are sorry if you missed it.
Word Vancouver 2020
Exploring the Multiverse: Poetry Science and the Environment. Here is the YouTube recording (LQ reads at 31:10) .
For publicity requests, contact Ms. Jacqueline Davis, McGill-Queen's University Press.