I like to say I wear several hats: I am an author-illustrator, an educator and a conservation biologist. My work is inspired by the majesty and fragility of nature and the need to do everything we can to protect it.

I first ‘got into’ climate change when working as a conservationist with a project looking at forest and watershed protection in the tropical Andes. I realized at the time that I knew very little about climate change and global warming, and I found the available information quite confusing, not to say overwhelming. That was when I decided to write my next graphic novel, and make it about climate change.

I spend a great deal of time researching for my books, to make sure they are scientifically accurate as well as pertinent to the modern day. However, as graphic novels my work also needs to entertain, so I build the non-fiction content into full-length stories replete with heroes and villains, adventure, exotic settings, diverse cultures and a good dose of humour. The idea is to educate while entertaining, because I believe that education needs to be fun.

My climate change series of graphic novels feature Captain Polo, an anthropomorphic polar bear whose natural curiosity leads him across the globe learning ever more about the effects of climate change on human societies, cities and economies as well as on the natural world. My books are however more about hope than despair; I don’t sugar-coat the hard facts and the science, but I do make sure the messages are actionable and positive.

I am also the author and illustrator of three climate change-themed picture books for children within the 6-8 age range.

Creative Showcase 

Alan has contributed a piece on his Captain Polo comic book, Pole to Pole, to our Creative Showcase portfolio, an evolving collection of new and recent works from our members. See Pole to Pole.

Alan’s ClimateCultures posts

Alan J. Hesse

Captain Polo in Brazil – A Sneak Peek

Author-illustrator and conservation biologist Alan J Hesse exclusively previews his latest 'The Adventures of Captain Polo' graphic novel, showing his creative process as this savvy climate action ambassador explores Brazil's threatened biodiversity and climate issues and solutions there. 2,380 Read More