Government Agencies Defy Trump by Tweeting Climate Facts
In a political era where "alternative facts" are used in place of actual facts, several government bodies have been tweeting doses of reality in defiance of President Donald Trump and his many controversial stances. That is, until someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. notices and forces them to delete their social media missives.
Federal Agencies Barred From Speaking to Press, Posting on Social Media https://t.co/U1it9SRSDr @SierraClub @billmckibben @MarkRuffalo @350— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) 1485357726.0
The Badlands National Park in South Dakota really lived up to its name after tweeting out several posts about climate change Tuesday afternoon, countering the president and most of his administration's notorious skepticism of climate science.
"The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm," the first post read.
A second tweet read, "Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate".
The third, "Flipside of the atmosphere; ocean acidity has increased 30 percent since the Industrial Revolution. 'Ocean Acidification' #climate #carboncycle".
Finally, the fourth post stated that "Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. #climate".
Although these tweets have since been removed, whoever was tweeting from the Badlands account was particularly audacious. The Badlands social media hero tweeted in spite of the Trump administration's earlier Twitter gag order on the entire National Park Service.
It all started on the day of the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 when the National Park Service retweeted these two critical tweets about the new Commander in Chief, including one that poked fun of the size of Trump's crowd compared to President Obama's.
Compare the crowds: 2009 inauguration at left, 2017 inauguration at right. #Inauguration https://t.co/y7RhIR2nfC— Binyamin Appelbaum (@Binyamin Appelbaum) 1484929217.0
Civil rights, climate change, and health care scrubbed clean from White House website. Not a trace. https://t.co/Nc9zNIyN3d— Anne Trumble (@Anne Trumble) 1484943300.0
Someone at the Trump Administration noticed shortly after and forced the National Park Service to temporarily shut down its Twitter activity. As Gizmodo reported, here's an email that was sent to National Park employees that Friday:
We have received direction from the Department through [the Washington Support Office] that directs all [Department of Interior] bureaus to immediately cease use of government Twitter accounts until further notice.
PWR parks that use Twitter as part of their crisis communications plans need to alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement. Please ensure all scheduled posts are deleted and automated cross-platform social media connections to your twitter accounts are severed. The expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to Twitter.
In summary, this Twitter stand down means we will cease use of Twitter immediately. However, there is no need to suspend or delete government accounts until directed.
This does not affect use of other approved social media platforms. We expect further guidance to come next week and we will share accordingly.
Thanks for your help!
The National Park Service's Twitter account has since been revived and issued an apology about its "mistaken" retweets.
We regret the mistaken RTs from our account yesterday and look forward to continuing to share the beauty and histor… https://t.co/5f45p7MHg5— NationalParkService (@NationalParkService) 1485012069.0
As Gizmodo surmised, one reason that the National Park Service might be sour at Trump is due to his nomination U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke for Secretary of the Interior, who will be tasked with the president's plans to drill federal lands, including National Parks, for more energy development. Zinke is a climate change skeptic and coal mining advocate.