Badlands National Park tweeted the inconvenient truth about climate change today, despite the Trump administration’s crackdown on environmental outreach. And the Twittersphere went wild.
The South Dakota park’s staff typically focuses its Twitter account on bighorn sheep and the like, but at least one of the account’s keepers delved into atmospheric carbon dioxide readings:
The tweetstorm was seen as brazen because the Interior Department and its National Park Service had already weathered a social-media freeze over Inauguration Day crowd estimates, and because word emerged that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture were told to put the brakes on social media and other forms of engagement.
Sympathetic Twitter users (and Twitter Moments) took notice:
— Dennis (@Reign_86_) January 24, 2017
Badass tweeter in Badlands National Park defies Trump social media blackout on climate changes https://t.co/IsBSbH1OLF
— Rich Landers (@SRoutside) January 24, 2017
— David Steen, Ph.D. (@AlongsideWild) January 24, 2017
I salute you, Badlands National Park tweeter who is probably going to get fired but is going out in style. https://t.co/LrcH91IOuJ
— Kate Sheppard (@kate_sheppard) January 24, 2017
— Montel Williams (@Montel_Williams) January 24, 2017
To the braves of Badlands Natl Pa, I'll open a gofundme to help you if you get fired because of yr tweets. Enough of Trump's childish BS https://t.co/ImggS0YO51
— Lavande du Sud (@LLavandedusud) January 24, 2017
The tweets lasted only a few hours before they were deleted. But that was long enough for them to spawn the screenshots heard round the world.
“Vladimir Putin would be proud,” Adrienne Watson, national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement (which was tweeted, of course).
The incident brought out the snark, left and right, for the Badlands’ mountain goat caption contest:
CAPTION THIS! pic.twitter.com/CA1MyF4y6Z
— Badlands Nat'l Park (@BadlandsNPS) January 24, 2017
@BadlandsNPS There is no enormous elephant in this photo. Do not discuss the enormous elephant that is not in this photo.
— Tim Ireland (@bloggerheads) January 24, 2017
“For one brief moment, they saw sunshine, before the dark clouds again descended” @BadlandsNPS
— Near deGrasse Tyson (@DrNeilTyson) January 24, 2017
— LeftWingQuotes (@Regress1ve_Left) January 24, 2017
The climate tweets did far more for the park’s social-media profile than the caption contest did: Badlands National Park’s follower count quickly zoomed past 100,000, which is a huge jump from last week’s tally of 7,066.
It’s worth noting that Badlands isn’t the only national park to be tweeting about climate change:
— Golden Gate NPS (@GoldenGateNPS) January 23, 2017
If you’re already missing the Badlands’ bad behavior, there’s a parody account just for you …
Hey, friends. Here to support @BadlandsNPS with the science facts they can no longer share!
— BadHombreLands NPS (@BadHombreNPS) January 24, 2017
… And if you’re into #fakenews, someone quickly set up a fake Badlands_NPS Twitter account (with an extra telltale underscore) as well as BadIandsNPS with a capital I (“eye”) substituting for the lowercase l (“ell”):
Global average temperature rise puts approximately 25 to 35% of plant and animal species at increased risk of extinction #climate
— Badlands Nat'l Park (@Badlands_NPS) January 24, 2017
The Badlands were created over eons through the gradual erosion of sediment. The erosion of U.S. democracy, however, will be far more rapid.
— BadlandsNPSFans (@BadIandsNPSFans) January 25, 2017