A comic book reflects the ravages of climate change

The newspaper comic ‘Arctic Circle’, by environmentally conscious cartoonist Alex Hallatt, is about talking penguins and their northern kin. Starting Monday, under a caption that reads ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, the menagerie will see its world shrink and its conversations center around global warming.

Readers will see the drawings come to nothing by Friday as a snow bunny thinks, “Climate change will lead to habitat loss and the extinction of many species.”

Miss Hallatt created the tapes to watch the documentary ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’ arrive in theaters on Friday. The film follows the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary starring Al Gore. Miss Hallatt has no official connection with the film.

“I was so excited when ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was a hit,” she said in a phone interview. “Finally, finally, climate change was now in the mainstream. In the next 10-11 years, it seems like we’re almost backsliding. It’s really, really scary.

She added: “The fact that there has to be a sequel bothers me. We shouldn’t even discuss it.

Tackling environmental issues is nothing new for Miss Hallatt, a former biochemist. Since its debut, “Arctic Circle,” which has been syndicated by King Features since 2007, has covered topics such as marine pollution, bird conservation and the disappearance of bees.

“It’s not a political position,” she said. “Climate change is a matter of science. People see this as a partisan issue, but it’s a science issue.

Miss Hallatt, 46, said she never intended the ‘Arctic Circle’ to be an environmental band, but has cared about climate issues since childhood. She grew up in Dorset, England, during the oil crisis and remembers “always turning off the lights and driving my parents crazy”. Yet his work is not always about the weight of the world. Recent episodes of “Arctic Circle” have depicted the penguins coping with social media and dating. And his webcomic, “Human Cull,” aims to make the world a better place by removing annoying people. A recent example: those who do not keep the doors open.

When she tackled politics in “Arctic Circle,” the response on message boards was sometimes impassioned. “You get climate change deniers posting on these threads,” she recalled. “The good thing is that there will be rational responses from people who explain the science to them so that I don’t have to get involved.”

Peter Broelman, a cartoonist and member of the Australian Cartoonists Association, said: “‘Arctic Circle’ takes the lead in discussing one of the world’s greatest challenges openly and uses humor effectively to convey concerns of Alex”. Stanley Awards, and “Arctic Circle” has been nominated for one of the awards three times.

Miss Hallatt said she thought her tape was an ideal place to discuss global warming.

“If you read the comics, they’re all based on fact,” she said. “The only thing we don’t have are talking animals in the Arctic. Or penguins. They are immigrant penguins.

“An Inconvenient Sequel” highlights some progress in the fight against climate change; Miss Hallatt said she believed positive action could be taken.

“The United States may have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, but many cities and states have said they are still part of it,” she said. “That’s the attitude people have to have. We can do many things, but we have to do it collectively.