CNN ECOSPHERE: Digital garden visualizes live discussion at Rio+20

CNN ECOSPHERE offers users a real-time view of the global discussion around the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

Story highlights

  • CNN ECOSPHERE will visualize Twitter discussions on key topics at the the RIO+20 Earth Summit
  • Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari (with WebGL enabled) are the recommended browsers for users
  • The website aggregates tweets tagged with #RIO20 and groups them into specific topics

For three days from June 20, heads of states, business leaders and civil society representatives will gather in Brazil to tackle the world's environmental problems at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

CNN International is inviting you to join the global discussion on climate change by using ECOSPHERE, a digital tool that will visualize Twitter conversations around the Earth Summit in a stunning evolving environment.

The computer-generated "living sphere" is built using a state-of-the-art 3D platform called WebGL -- users are recommended to access the web-based interactive ecosystem with the latest versions of Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari (with WebGL enabled). If you don't have the latest browser and graphics card you can still see ECOSPHERE at work in a live stream on the same site.

'Plant your thought, watch the discussion grow'

The ECOSPHERE takes thousands of tweets from around the world and visualizes them in real time in the form of an evolving digital garden.

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    How to use CNN's Ecosphere

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The process is simple: Anyone sending out tweets that they want included must add the #RIO20 hashtag. Submitted tweets are scanned for keywords and then grouped together into specific topics or discussions.

Each tweet stimulates growth in a plant or tree in the garden, forming conversations. New thoughts are planted as seeds, which will grow as similar ideas are shared. The size, color and growth of these plants give users a real-time view of how the global discussion is evolving.

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    At any time in the evolution of the ECOSPHERE, there are up to 30 plants growing on the surface of the sphere, representing the 30 most popular keywords or topics.

    Users can explore the lush 3D environment by zooming in on the different branches while a separate time line documents the development of the discussions and the ECOSPHERE environment itself.

    The website was first launched in 2011 at the the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban. It was recently awarded with two Cannes Lions at the 59th International Festival of Creativity -- Silver Lion in the "Publications & Media" category and Bronze Lion in the "Best Integrated Campaign Led by Promotion and Activation" category.

    Earlier this year, it won gold and silver prizes at the ADC and Clio Awards in New York, at the Montreux Festival, at the ADC of Europe Awards in Barcelona, as well as with the Grand Prix of ADC Germany.

    Find out more about the ECOSPHERE.

    Users are recommended to access the web-based interactive ecosystem with the latest versions of Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari (with WebGL enabled).