Earlier today, whoever was operating the Twitter account for the Badlands National Park in South Dakota started tweeting out a bunch of (true!) facts about climate change:
Half the internet interpreted this as a thinly veiled jab at Donald Trump, who has said that global warming is a hoax — and whose administration reportedly ordered all National Park Service accounts to stop tweeting on January 20 for a bit, after the main NPS account retweeted a picture showing that Trump’s inauguration crowds were smaller than Obama’s.
By Tuesday afternoon, Badlands National Park had been dubbed “the ultimate climate rebel,” its tweets shared tens of thousands of times. But at around 5:30 pm EST, all the account’s climate tweets had mysteriously vanished — deleted!
All the climate change-related tweets from @BadlandsNPS earlier today have been deleted. Wayback Machine has them: https://t.co/6uVKhiEeY4— Dr. John Barentine (@JohnBarentine) January 24, 2017
Now we’re left to ponder such questions as ... who was operating the Badlands account? Who ordered the deletions? Are our national parks going to keep subtweeting Trump? Should people nervous about Trump start freaking out about this or maybe just hold off until, say, the president actually starts making substantive moves on climate policy? Is day five too early for everyone to have a heart attack?
Update: The plot thickens. A National Parks Service official told Buzzfeed’s Claudia Koerner that the tweets were posted by a “former employee who was not authorized to use the account.” And: “The park was not told to remove the tweets but chose to do so when they realized that their account had been compromised." That’s still odd, though. There wasn’t anything wrong with the tweets, and the Badlands account has posted other climate facts in the past. Why bother removing these?
In other news, the Golden Gate National Park Service has stepped into the void by tweeting its own climate facts — see ’em while they’re hot:
2016 was the hottest year on record for the 3rd year in a row. Check out this @NASA & @NOAA report: https://t.co/rLJUC56xqi pic.twitter.com/AKhFzYw6l6— Golden Gate NPS (@GoldenGateNPS) January 23, 2017
The now-subdued Badlands National Park account, meanwhile, has left us with only this image to contemplate:
CAPTION THIS! pic.twitter.com/CA1MyF4y6Z— Badlands Nat'l Park (@BadlandsNPS) January 24, 2017
- In much more substantive environmental news today, Trump issued some executive orders to try to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines — advancing one of his major policy priorities.
- Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is on lockdown, with no staff allowed to use social media or talk to press, as Trump contemplates sweeping changes to climate and environmental policy.