Breaking Badlands: National Park Service Goes Yugely Rogue, Insists On Pesky Facts

By Abby Zimet

Well this is cool: Trumpian efforts to block information on climate change – ’cause who needs science and/or a planet? – have sparked fierce, creative, heart-stirring resistance by the National Park Service and its many friends, suggesting the Revolution may yet be tweeted. A (and do let’s remember this is insane) recap: Thin-skinned Trumpenfuhrer clamped down on multiple federal agencies so they wouldn’t say anything he didn’t agree with, especially if it was about nasty science or that silly Chinese notion of global warming. Among his targets was the Park Service, whose Twitter account got scrubbed posting photos (which don’t lie) of sad inaugural crowds. Grovelling Park Service officials said they regretted being so truthful and went back to posting pretty pictures of scenic vistas that at this rate won’t be around much longer so we better enjoy them, like, now.

On Tuesday, unknown rangers at the Badlands National Park who’d clearly had enough of the bullshit started tweeting real, actual, alarming FACTS about global warming on the park’s site. Within hours, they were deleted; officials dutifully said they were the work of disgruntled former employees who for some reason kept insisting that science is real. But some of the miscreants cleverly got screengrabs of “the glorious @BadlandsNPS Revolt of 2017,” suggested “let’s do it this way,” and reposted them with the Martin Luther King quote, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” The war was on.

The masses loved it. Within hours, the site had gained almost a hundred thousand followers. They renamed the park BadAssLands and Breaking Badlands. They wondered if Drumpf had ever been to a park. They noted that the National Mall, “where the tiny crowd showed up to see him wave his tiny hands around,” is a NPS site. They hoped “everyone paid attention during the ‘brownshirt’ phase of history class.” They noted that, “Totalitarians enforce compliance in small things because they know that small freedoms give you an appetite for bigger ones.” They mused, “Every fight now is going to be about observable reality.” They quoted Orwell’s 1984: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” And they vowed, “You will never silence the truth, tiny-fisted dictator Trump.”

They were only the beginning. They were swiftly followed by unknown but similarly pissed-off rangers at Golden Gate National Park likewise posting climate change facts to grateful readers: “You kick ass, stay strong, stay science.” Death Valley NP cited Japanese internment in response to threats to ban Muslims, and NASA posted facts about global warming, images of its impact, and links to reports on 2016 as the warmest year on record. Others reposted climate change information, and alternative, untouchable Parks Service sites have sprung up: @BadHombreNPS and @AltNatParkSer, which bills itself as “the unofficial ‘resistance’ team of the US National Parks Service” and exults, “You can take our official Twitter but you can never take our free time.” The site assures readers it includes “environmental scientists and far too much coffee,” insists, “There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives” and rejoices that, “On the fourth day, Trump got taken down by a couple of rogue national park rangers in a mountain cabin.” Nice.

There’s also a new Climate Deregulation Tracker launched by Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law that tracks every step the orange administration takes to try and roll back existing federal climate change laws. There’s a Scientists’ March on Washington brewing, and a new group aimed at mobilizing scientists to run for office. Right now, for now, there’s a giant Greenpeace “RESIST” banner flying over the White House from a liberated crane. And there’s a #ThankYouTrump campaign that, umm, didn’t quite work out as planned – though the ImpeachTrump one is doing swell, thanks.

So yeah. Onward.

Abby Zimet is a staff writer for Common Dreams. His article appeared originally in Common Dreams.

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