Americans are living in a time that it unprecedented. Some may see this as good but the majority of people are scared and worried for the future of the United States. The new Trump administration seems to be attempting to muzzle environmental messages on social media has forced the people within that department to respond — in an unprecedented way. They will not be silenced because the truth exists, no matter how much the Trump team wants to keep the people from knowing the truth. And other government agencies are following suit.
It all started with the Badlands National Park Service’s Twitter account. The Trump administration had its pro-science tweets deleted (after the Department of the Interior had ordered all Park Service social media accounts to go quiet). Since then, “rogue” Twitter accounts have begun to sprout up for the NPS, and now for EPA, USDA, and NASA. (Note, these rogue accounts were created, not all of the government sanctioned accounts had been given a gag order. Some created rogue accounts as a precaution.) Everyone is worried that science and truth will be controlled by a corrupt administration.
Everything started almost as soon as Mr. Trump was sworn in on January 20th, 2017. That is when climate change policy information on the whitehouse.gov website disappeared. It’s unclear who’s behind these accounts, but their strong defense of climate science quickly won them many followers. The AltUSNatParkService Twitter account (@AltNatParkSer) was launched and announced that it has been “activated in time of war and censorship to ensure fact-based education.” The new handle quickly gained 980,000 followers — more than double the number of followers on the main National Park Service account (381,000).
The account introduced itself with rebellious messages, “Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out,” and “Respect goes out to our brothers and sisters at the @BadlandsNPS. When they silence you, we will speak for you.”
This powerful message stuck — and made quite the impact.
When staff at the Environmental Protection Agency was issued a restrictive gag order (which included no speaking to the press, silencing their social media accounts, and requiring review by political appointees before posting any scientific data, the @altUSEPA handle appeared on Twitter. It describes itself as: “The Unofficial ‘Resistance team of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Not taxpayer subsidized! Environmental conditions may vary from alternative facts.”
And to top it all off, more accounts have popped up:
Two “resistance” NASA accounts, @RogueNASA and @Alt_NASA.
The Agriculture Department has produced an @AltUSDA account.
The @AlternativeNWS Twitter account, which promises “non-partisan science-based weather, water, and climate info.”
@Alt_CDC is for issues relating to public health for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And adding to the list: @AltNIH; AltFDA; AltUSFWSRefuge; and @AltNOAA.
And finally, speaking out about the work of Health and Human Services is @AltHHS
By the time this article is published, there are probably more, too.
After the main National Park Service Twitter account retweeted pictures of the National Mall, the Twitter account was silenced. It openly compared crowd sizes at the Obama and Trump inaugurations.
Someone at Badlands National Park used their park’s account to send out tweets relating to climate change. Those tweets were soon deleted, and a Park Service statement claimed that a former employee not authorized to access the account was to blame but it inspired other National Park Service Twitter accounts to spout science tweets as well. Some think the administration wants to silence science, based on Mr. Trump’s assertion that climate change is a hoax and these rogue accounts are making sure that does not happen.