As the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP-28 unfolds in the UAE from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, the urgency of addressing climate change resonates globally. In Canada, the climate change impact is felt even more acutely, with the country experiencing climate change at twice the world’s average due to its northern location.
Anticipating the potential impact on Canada’s iconic tourist destinations, Bonus.ca, a Canadian platform, collaborated with OpenAI to envision the future of five prominent landmarks including the CN Tower and Niagara Falls as well as Notre-Dame Basilica, Hopewell Rocker and Confederation Bridge. By delving into factors like global warming, overpopulation, and extreme weather, they generated AI predictions and accompanying images.
Here are some of the startling results.
If efforts to address environmental concerns around the CN Tower prove ineffective, pollution and emissions from the urban sprawl could significantly contribute to its degradation, warns AI.
Toronto is grappling with the harsh realities of climate change, including extreme weather events, fires, higher temperatures, and reduced air quality.
In the AI’s projection, the CN Tower appears as a crumbling, abandoned relic at the heart of a city profoundly affected by climate change, painting a stark contrast to its current state.
However, according to the report, AI tools also speculate on a transformative potential for the CN Tower. Envisioning a thriving vertical forest using advanced biotechnology, the projection forecasts integrated systems for self-sustainability, including rainwater harvesting, waste recycling, and urban beekeeping to promote biodiversity. Structural enhancements, such as a deeper foundation and reinforced design, could make the tower resilient against climate change impacts.
To promote a healthy tourism trade, the vision includes observation decks with augmented reality displays, allowing visitors to enjoy breathtaking views while contributing to the sustainable evolution of this iconic landmark.
In a positive intervention scenario for Niagara Falls by 2123 (shown at top), the report envisions a lush green corridor and smart cities with minimal ecological footprints that redefine the region. Ultra-efficient transportation systems and climate change adaptation measures, including regulated water flow and expanded renewable energy, transform the landscape. Sustainable tourism thrives with emission-free hovercrafts, electric drones, and glass domes offering panoramic views without harm to the environment.
In a contrasting vision, by 2123, negative influences like population growth, insufficient environmental protection, and global warming plague Niagara Falls. Significant water flow reduction impacts ecosystems and freshwater resources. Unchecked urbanization replaces greenery with concrete, eroding rock formations pose dangers, and deteriorating air and water quality deter tourism. The falls become a shadow of their former self, surrounded by pollution and debris.
The contrasting visions offered by the AI-generated images and ideas highlight the critical importance of proactive environmental stewardship and sustainable practices. The positive intervention scenario serves as a hopeful reminder that with careful planning, regulation, and the adoption of renewable energy sources, we can preserve natural wonders and ensure a vibrant future. On the other hand, the no-intervention scenario serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the urgent need for responsible environmental policies and individual actions to prevent the deterioration of iconic landscapes.
Sometimes, we in Toronto think, because we get warm days in mid-November like we got this year, that the climate crisis won’t impact us. And, to put it mildly, that is a ridiculous thought. Don’t forget the wildfire smoke that choked the city from hundreds of miles away just this past summer. We are far from immune.