Monday, December 26, 2016

More Walkerite/Orwellian censoring of WI DNR climate pages

[Updated from 12/22]

Climate change censors driven by science denial and obeisance to polluters these days at the GOP-managed, Scott Walker-redefined "chamber of commerce mentality" Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are at it again.

Not content with having already stripped content and links from an agency webpage about climate change - - deletions I documented some years ago and which I have frequently referenced - - the ideologues intent on scrubbing science off these pages and sowing doubt and confusion about the consensus view of experts worldwide about climate change have edited, deleted and otherwise compressed to whitewash long-standing concepts and facts off a climate change page about the Great Lakes - - the same way, I will add, that Walker edited and watered-down the Wisconsin Idea, which has for decades had been the University system's historic mission statement.

[12/26 update. I suppose this page and subject will get the scrub/delete treatment, too]] 

It's a continuation of Walker's deliberate destruction of the DNR - - which we also learned today he is considering completely breaking apart to further hamstring and weaken public science, conservation and pollution enforcement while further playing to corporate donors and manipulating GOP base voters to help embed partisan Republican advancement and entrenchment by propagandizing that government - - and especially agencies like DNR which Walker has intentionally doomed - - does not work for them.

This is the text on the page freshly updated today:
The Great Lakes and a changing world 
As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth's long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 
The effects of such a change are also being debated but whatever the causes and effects, the DNR's responsibility is to manage our state's natural resources through whatever event presents itself; flood, drought, tornadoes, ice/snow or severe heat. The DNR staff stands ready to adapt our management strategies in an effort to protect our lakes, waterways, plants, wildlife and people who depend on them.
That is but a fraction of what had been there until earlier today:

Gone are references to known "human activities" contributing to a warming planet, warming's contributions to changes in rainfall and snowfall patterns, extreme weather events, drought, species and economic losses as a result among other truths whitewashed off this official, taxpayer-financed website.

Chillingly, this entire line - - with its positive message and a call to action - - is now deleted:
The good news is that we can all work to slow climate change and lessen its effects.
As are multiple links to climate change resources, many specific to the Great Lakes materials - - despite the title of the page - - "The Great Lakes and a changing world."

Here are the full edits the DNR is sneaking through without fanfare to unsuspecting readers on that webpage - - changes caught by a webpage monitoring service.

[12/22 Update. In my haste to write the original post, I left out the obvious: that the changes remove the words "climate and "climate change."] 

Deletions are shown with a black line through them, words which were untouched remain in normal print, and the highlighted wording becomes part of the new text sandwiched together into what appears on what is a heavily-censored page, but without any way for the reader to spot the edits and altered meaning.

In short, the guts of this page are now gone, or sanitized.

This is Orwellian and propagandistic.
The Great Lakes and a changing world Earth´s climate As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is changinggoing through a changeHuman activities that increase heat–trapping ("green house") gases The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth's long history are the main cause. Earth´s average temperature has increased 1.4 °F since 1850 being debated and researched by academic entities outside the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 1998Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesIncreasing temperatures have led to changes in rainfall patterns and snow and ice cover. These changes could have severe The effects on of such a change are also being debated but whatever the Great Lakes causes and effects, the plants, wildlife and people who depend on them. While no one can predict exactly what climate change will mean for DNR's responsibility is to manage our Great Lakesstate's natural resources through whatever event presents itself; floodscientists agree that the following changes are likely if climate change patterns continue. Increased summer and winter temperatures will cause increased evaporationdroughtlower lake water levels and warmer watertornadoesresulting in reduced habitat for cold water species and a loss of critical wetland areasice/snow or severe heatDecreased winter ice cover will also contribute The DNR staff stands ready to increased evaporation and lower lake water levels which could have severe economic consequences for adapt our valuable shipping industrymanagement strategies in an effort to protect our lakeslakeshore recreationwaterwaysplants, wildlife and coastal businessespeople who depend on themChanges in rain and snowfall patterns (including more frequent and severe storms) could change water flow in streams and rivers and increase stream bank erosion and runoff pollution. The good news is that we can all work to slow climate change and lessen its effects. To find out For more about climate change and how we can all help, please visit the following links. Wisconsin DNR Climate Change information Global Climate Change Climate Change Wildlife and Wildlands Toolkit [exit DNR] Climate change is mainly on the result research conducted by the University of rising CO 2 levels in Earth´s atmosphere. Check out the most current CO 2 level and what it means: Wisconsin-Madison CO 2 Now [exit DNR] General climate change information and actions we can all take to help (includes a special section for teachers and students): EPA Climate Change [exit DNR] Climate Change and the Great Lakes International Assn. for Great Lakes Research Climate Change The Nelson Institute [exit DNR] Union of Concerned Scientists [exit DNR] Water Sustainability and Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region [exit DNR] (Sea Grant materials) National Wildlife Federation – Great Lakes Report [PDF exit DNR] 


Anonymous said...


Well who is censoring the state's news media?

[crickets chirping]

By definition, propaganda is (#2): the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.

It isn't the DNR that disseminates this. That takes mass media (see point above)

Rich Fallis Says.... said...

Two legs good. Four legs bad.

lufthase said...

If you search for "climate change" on the WI DNR site, there are an awful lot of Not Found / 404 Errors. Figure their deletion must have been relatively recent for them to still be showing up in the search results...

Where's the ethics? said...

This is a great document that the Great Lakes Cities Initiative should bring to the attention of the Great Lakes Governors Council in review of the Application approval for Waukesha.

Clearly, Wisconsin has misrepresented Waukesha to get Great Lakes water.

Anonymous said...

Where are the ethics?

Unfortunately, as Mr. Rowen so carefully documented and blogged about, the Great Lakes Governors Council had all of the information that demonstrated misrepresentations. Many of us, at Rowen's urging, directly followed up with the various Governors Councils. They did not care and approved anyhow.

Is it technically still a "misrepresentation" when the decision makers are complicit with acting on information they knew was bad?

Anonymous said...

The link that it appears this post is based on has been saved 14 times between August 30, 2012 and October 30, 2016 at the WayBack Machine. Take a look for yourself and copy/save what you want while it's still available:

Saved 14 times between August 30, 2012 and October 30, 2016:*/

NOTE: I do not know if the link above of the search results is a stable static link or if it would change -- copy and paste URLs or keywords into the search box at:

James Rowen said...

Unless I am misusing the Way Back Machine, the slinks there take you to the new page through the new link. The original page appears to be gone, no?

James Rowen said...

The links. Sorry for the typo.

Anonymous said...

Dear James, whom might concerned citizens & activists & educators contact to complain about this censorship?

Anonymous said...

I asked DNR trough the chat why they deleted all this. This is what I got in response:
"As we do from time to time with other website pages, we updated this web page, which had not been updated in several years. The updated page reflects our position on this topic that we have communicated for years, that our agency regularly must respond to a variety of environmental and human stressors from drought, flooding, wind events to changing demographics. Our agency must be ready to respond to each of these challenges. Adaptation has been our position on this topic.
As you know the causes and effects of any changes in climate are still being debated by the general public and research on the matter is being done in academic circles outside DNR. It should be noted that we included links on this page to UW-Madison programs that include climate change in their research. "