Live language analysis of Earth Hour tweets: how are people talking about Earth Hour?

by Diana Maynard and Kalina Bontcheva,
the University of Sheffield

Collective awareness about climate change is an ongoing problem because there is such a wealth of information available, which can be confusing, contradictory and difficult to interpret. In order to help citizens understand environmental concerns, and to help organisations better inform and target interested people with campaigns, we have developed an open source toolkit to analyse social media data on the topic of climate change. The toolkit comprises methods for extracting, aggregating, and visualising actionable knowledge, based on automatic analysis of large volumes of text.

The key terms, poster types and sentiments expressed in online discussions are extracted, along with key indicators of climate change, and are stored in a semantic search tool, which enables complex real-time searches over large volume social media stream.

During the Earth Hour 2016, we collected and analysed in real time all tweets related to the events, extracted all this information automatically, and posted tweet updates showing aggregated statistics on the types of language being used in English Earth Hour tweets, opinions expressed towards the event, and the types of users posting on the topics.

You can see some of the results in our demo here.


Analysing Earth Hour on Twitter

by Harith Alani and Miriam Fernandez
The Open University

Which Earth Hour tweets were more engaging than others? what topics people discuss during Earth Hour? Whom of Earth Hour followers tweeted about the event? and how do they differ from those who did not? These are some of the questions that intrigued us during these global campaigns, and kick-started a series of data analysis tasks to find answers to the above questions. To get started, we collected tweets about Earth Hour during the 2014 and 2015 campaigns; around 57M tweets in total. We first analysed the tweets that attracted many retweets, to understand the characteristics of the user who posted the tweets, and the content of the tweet (topic, writing style, sentiment, whether it contains an image, what type of image was it, has a URL or not, etc.). Our results showed that more engaging tweets tend to be longer, easier to read, have positive sentiment, and contain an original or funny photos.

Additionally, we also looked at which topics were emerging from those popular tweets, and how they related to environmental and climate change themes. We also studied for how long such engagement lasted beyond Earth Hour campaigns, to better understand the longevity of the impact of such events on the participants’ tweeting behaviour. Our results show that symbolism needs to be focused around climate change related topics. Superheroes, celebrities, and other types of symbols that are sometimes used by these campaigns, create buzz but do not necessarily generate awareness or engagement towards climate change. Regarding long lasting engagement, while users decrease their engagement towards the topic of the campaign after it finishes, climate change related topics continue to appear in their conversations one month later.

We have also looked at all the followers of Swiss WWF twitter account, to see which ones tweeted about the Earth Hour campaigns, and which one did not engage with the campaign at all. We then compared the topics that these two groups of followers tweet about, to see if there are noticeable differences between the two groups. We found that users who did not participate in the Earth Hour campaigns, in contrast with the ones that did participate, tended to tweet more about topics related to technology, entrepreneurship and journalism (media).

How do we turn every citizen into a conscious and active citizen?

by Hester van Zuthem and Meia Wippoo
WAAG society

How do we get to a point where people not only share concerns, but also act upon them? How do we turn every citizen into a conscious and active citizen?

Over the past two years, we have looked at what and how people, organisations, and governments communicate about climate change (and how these communications are valued) using data analyses and experiments. But, we’ve also worked on practical solutions and tools for behavioural change.

We want to position the ‘climate change agents’ as designers who can be immersed in the world of the target group to really understand what the needs are and what suits people best. In other words: not trying to convince people to adopt a range of ideas, but to adopt to their way of life and change with them.

This year, we will finalise a Behavioural Change Framework, a model that will be developed for ‘change agents’, to frame the situation in which people are willing to change their behaviour. In the model, several existing theories and methods (i.e. co-creation, marketing, and social-psychological) are combined and integrated with the tools for analysis developed within DecarboNet. In the end, it could be used in all kinds of contexts that ask for a behavioural change, not just the climate situation.WAAG_EH1









More about the work of WAAG:


Living the change at home

by Christoph Meili
WWF Switzerland

Together we may change the world. Every single person has the power to reduce environmental impacts through individual engagement. In Switzerland, environmental awareness is high. However, people tend to struggle with adapting new environmental-friendly behaviour in daily life.

IKEA not only wants to optimise its products, but also takes a stand politically and wants to enable its customers to live a more sustainable life at home. WWF Switzerland is excited about IKEAs engagement and therefore was looking for nice ways to support IKEA on this journey.

Insights from collaborative workshops executed within the scope of DecarboNet, together with WAAG society, leveraged the impact of the IKEA- project. 26 households from different parts of Switzerland were supported with motivation and measuring tools to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle in a fun and easy way.

The families loved the project and recommend it to everybody.

See how easy change to a more sustainable living can be:

Visualising and understanding household electricity consumption

by Rik Temmink
Green Energy Options (geo)

In 2014, geo joined forces with a number of academic and charitable organisations including the Open University, the University of Sheffield and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the DecarboNet project, a 3-year research project funded by the European Commission aimed at investigating the potential of social platforms in mitigating climate change.

Its main contribution to the project is the company’s extensive experience in energy trials, including the Visible Energy Trial. In the course of the project, geo helped develop a “decarbonisation methodology” that recognizes the different stages of understanding and engagement of households and uses this insight to change people’s energy consumption behaviour for the better, curbing wastage and reducing the carbon footprint of trial participants.

geo provided 250 electricity monitors with smartplugs to households (mainly in the UK). These were used by trial participants to understand their electricity consumption, not just at a “whole home” level but by appliance, using smartplugs to monitor detailed electricity consumption. Participants were encouraged to compare and discuss their findings with other trial users via the portal, and with others using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

In particular, the DecarboNet project has contributed to geo’s understanding of the power of social media in engaging people in the quest to reduce energy consumption, and its use in ultimately limiting the impact of household energy consumption on climate change.

Turn your message into action: How digital media enables grassroot activism

by Max Göbel
Vienna University of Economics and Business

The interaction between various digital media channels for information messaging is complex and non-transparent. WU is working on new algorithms to bring together the various online platforms to study information contagions in a coherent picture.

Icons of the most popular social media in a colourful background

Earth Hour 2016 Edition of the Climate Challenge

by Arno Scharl
MODUL University Vienna

In collaboration with the organizers of Earth Hour 2016, the global environmental event that will take place next Saturday at 8.30 pm your local time, we are happy to announce a special edition of the Climate Challenge.

Earth Hour 2016 comes at a moment when the world stands at a climate crossroads. We are emerging from a year that saw us both celebrate a universal climate deal and learn that our planet had lived through the hottest year on record. Shining a light on the climate action has never been more important or urgent.

 This is our time to #ChangeClimateChange.