Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The National Park Service Won't Be Silenced

NPS employees have a message for the Trump Administration.

Yosemite National Park. Credit: Diliff

Trump is in power, and one of his first acts has been to gag government agencies. After the National Park Service bruised his ego by retweeting a New York Times tweet showing Trump's inauguration numbers to be lower than President Obama's 2009 crowd, they were ordered to stop all tweets, including scheduled ones.

He then muzzled the EPA, not only prohibiting it from using social media, but also ordering it to remove a critical page on climate change from its website and put a freeze on awarding grants and contracts critical to our nation's environmental health. (In case you're in any doubt as to what a Trump presidency means for climate change and the environment, just consider that one of his first official acts after being sworn in was to announce he'd be eliminating The Climate Action Plan- legislation critical to combating anthropogenic global warming.)

The USDA went silent for several days, and an email ordering them to cease "news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content" until further notice. As of this writing, they have not tweeted since January 18th. The USDA's Agricultural Research Service account has only tweeted once.

Other agencies have gone silent or become considerably quieter.  It's eerily quiet on formerly chatty government social media accounts.

But the NPS refuses to be silenced. While their main official Twitter account has fallen into line, tweeting an apology for their inauguration retweets and sticking to innocuous fluff since, the Badlands National Park official account defiantly started tweeting about climate change:

On Tuesday, the Twitter account for South Dakota’s Badlands National Park—a subsidiary of the National Park Service—began tweeting out climate change facts, in apparent defiance of the gag order. Someone working for the national park’s social media team went rogue and started posting climate change facts from the National Wildlife Federation’s Web site in 140-character bursts. (Trump, who can generously be described as a climate change skeptic, has previously called called climate change a “hoax” engineered by the Chinese.)

The National Park’s tweets were retweeted thousands of times before they were suddenly deleted later Tuesday afternoon.

You can see screenshots of the rogue tweets at the above link.

Not long after Badlands was brought into line, anonymous employees of the NPS went rogue. They created the AltUSNatlParkService account and, after retweeting a particularly provocative image from the Badlands account along with some climate change data, announced their intent in no uncertain terms:

Screenshot of @AltNatParkSer tweets. From the bottom (earliest) to the top tweet, they are as follows: Tweet 1: "'The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm.'" Tweet 2: "Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out. Tweet 3: "Respect goes out to our brothers and sisters at the @BadlandsNPS. When they silence you, we will speak for you."

Screenshot of AltUSNatParkService tweets. Credit: Dana Hunter

These federal employees speaking out now understand that science is not subordinate to politics, that truth is essential, and transparency vital to a functioning democracy. They are risking their careers to ensure the public is kept informed. They're exercising their free speech rights to ensure we know the truth.

I have never been prouder of our National Park Service than I am now.

Please follow them on Twitter. Retweet their climate change data. Support their efforts. Get the word out. And support your National Parks by donating and volunteering. Tell your elected officials to support the NPS. Take a moment to thank NPS employees during your visits. They have never needed us more than now.

We will not be silenced.



    1. I knew that Trump as a federal employee, is violating the hatch act. Comey did it as well.

    2. How is Trump as President violating the Hatch Act? Enlighten me.

    3. So you think Trump is not a federal employee? At the very least he should be a role model and good example. But tha's not a trait he manages. You not following with his insane tweets? He's been breaking the law every single day since January 20. Lying, cheating and bragging are the areas where he is excellent at. I really start thinking you should switch the news channel. Try CNN or the daily Telegraph, or CBC-News. May your views get a little more balanced.

  2. And thanks to Trumpelskilsten now Canada will have to deal with the tar sands oil as well.

    1. If Trumpelstilsken f""ks with NAFTA he can end up paying a hefty export toll for oil from Canada. Wouldn't that be fun?

  3. It seems we don't have to worry about Hillary's email anymore.......

    1. HUGE difference between RNC and State Department official having private email accounts!

    2. Oh,my bad,I was stating "alternate facts" !


We like to hear from you. You can add your comment here: