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Storytelling for Change

with Cate May Burton, Dr. Lynne Quarmby, Anuradha Rao, Sylvia Olsen, & Nafeesa Alibhai
Saturday, June 12, 2021
10:30am to 11:45am

Interactive Online Gathering


Optional additional community chat session following panel discussion, 11:45am–12:15pm.

Join us for an interactive discussion moderated by Cate May Burton, featuring guest authors Anuradha Rao, Dr. Lynne Quarmby, and Sylvia Olsen, and guest activist-storyteller Nafeesa Alibhai.

Panelists will explore the relationship between facts and storytelling in the context of the climate crisis and the growing public distrust of information sources in government and news media. The discussion will encourage meaningful reflection on the emotional toll of the climate crisis, and help participants transform climate grief into powerful social transformation by connecting to ourselves and others through story.


Cate May Burton
is an educator, activist,
and author. She is beginning work as an elementary teacher while completing a PhD at the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia on unceded xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam) land. She co-authored Growing Up Elizabeth May, a story about her mother’s journey into activism as a young girl, released Spring 2021.

Lynne Quarmby is a scientist and an activist. In 2015, she shared the Sterling Prize for Controversy with Poet Stephen Collis. Lynne is a professor of cell biology in the Department of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. on unceded Coast Salish lands. Together with her trainees, Quarmby has published over fifty research papers—featuring cilia and snow algae—in scientific journals. She is the author of Watermelon Snow: Science, Art, and a Lone Polar Bear, a climate change memoir, infused with science, personal grief, and activism.

Sylvia Olsen is an author, story-teller, knitting designer, housing specialist and teacher. She has published award-winning books, including young adult novels, first readers, picture books, history and personal-essay. She also writes about knitting and designs knitting patterns. Sylvia teaches First Nations housing management at Vancouver Island University and works toward creating new housing opportunities on reserves in Canada. Sylvia lives in North Saanich, British Columbia on W̱SÁNEĆ territory. She co-authored Growing Up Elizabeth May, a story about Elizabeth May’s journey into activism as a young girl.

Anuradha Rao is a conservation biologist, writer and facilitator born and raised in the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga Nations and currently based in unceded Coast Salish territories. She has worked on research, conservation, restoration, planning and stewardship projects with communities and organizations on the coasts of Canada and in 12 other countries. Her worldview and approach to science are heavily influenced by teachings from her Indian heritage and from Indigenous knowledge holders. Her book, One Earth: People of Color Protecting Our Planet, came out Spring 2020.

Nafeesa Alibhai (she/they) is a Khoja settler who grew up in Blackfoot / Niitsítapi territory, currently learning and teaching on stolen xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam) lands. They have been taught, formally, in genetics, physiology, and neuroscience, as well as informally in cultural anecdote and the lived experience of the people they encounter, and strive to use this background to provide patients with holistic medical care. Recognizing the extent to which human and planetary health are intertwined motivated Nafeesa to become more engaged in Climate Justice movements. They currently serve as the Student Director for the UBC Climate Hub.

This event is sponsored in part by Persephone Brewing Company, which operates an 11-acre farm and craft brewery in the community of Gibsons on BC’s Sunshine Coast.