As the Trump administration actively works to suppress the communications of environmental agencies, one brave employee (or several employees—we may never know for sure) with the keys to the Badlands National Park Twitter feed opted to use the president’s favorite platform to speak openly about climate change.
The series of Tweets, posted between 2:40 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today, didn’t survive for long. But in their three hours of existence in the Twitterverse, they were liked and retweeted tens of thousands of times. Anticipating that the rogue tweeter(s) would soon suffer from second thoughts, or orders from above, GOOD did a screengrab of the tweets for posterity:
These climate facts were posted on the same day that Trump’s White House issued a media blackout for the Environmental Protection Agency, banning all employees from posting to social media and communicating with reporters. A source at the Department of Agriculture also told BuzzFeed today that they have been similarly gagged. Last Friday, the Department of the Interior—which includes the National Park Service and all individual national parks—was also temporarily banned from any social media use after it dared to tweet photos comparing the crowds between the last two inaugurations.
Though it shouldn’t be necessary to point this out, it’s long been standard procedure for national parks to tweet, blog, and comment about science and climate change as a core part of their mission is to educate the American public on issues affecting nature and conservation. In our new reality, unbiased statements of objective fact run the risk of being interpreted as acts of insubordination.
Hopefully, the badass social media manager(s) of the Badlands will come out of this unscathed. But should the hammer drop on him or her—or them—it looks like there might be some opportunities out there in the nonprofit sector.
Update: Golden Gate National Park posted this impressive climate data GIF on Twitter on Monday, before the Badlands Tweets. Perhaps the Badlands social media manager was inspired. Or perhaps they were all just doing their jobs, disseminating important information about conservation and environmental science.