Shu’s mother is a teacher and her father is an accountant in Changsa. Her name means "warm-hearted."
DATE: 2024
AGE: 4
China’s economic miracle is reaching a new stage. Poverty has declined but air pollution has shot up.

“This kindergarten has air filters!”  


“How much is it?”

“That’s a month’s salary! But it’s in The Bubble...”


Societies continues the same destructive course. Inequality deepens and temperatures rise, putting social and ecological stability at risk. Wellbeing declines globally, and it takes until 2100 to eradicate extreme poverty.
DATE: 2035
AGE: 15
When she was five years old, Shu suffered pneumonia, and now suffers from asthma. Her school is often closed due to air pollution.

“Summer is unbearable in The Racket. Too hot, too humid. And the air. I can’t breathe. The Bubble is cooler.”  


“It’s all in your head. You think everything is better in The Bubble.”

“No, I read about it. They have parks, trees, green space and water. That pulls down the temperature. And bubble schools where the are is filtered and they don't need to close! Not here. Just a few kilometres away and a different world.”

“We lost everything in the flood. The Pig was sent to test us and we failed.”

“The Pig is the flood. That’s just what everyone calls it. Pine Island Glacier in English.”

“I’m a hydrologist. We didn’t expect this. The scientists kind of didn’t think this would happen quite so fast.”  

“Along the coasts, we lost a lot of real estate.”

“All Chinese dynasties have survived or collapsed with how they managed water. This is true going back thousands of years.”

“I don’t think we succeeded. We lost too much. We’re still fighting the seas. The Himalaya melt has dried up. How do we grow food? We do, but this is not flourishing.”


Giant Leap

By enacting 5 extraordinary turnarounds, temperatures are stabilised below 2°C. Inequality and social tension falls, and extreme poverty is eradicated  by 2050.
DATE: 2035
AGE: 15
Pollution around Shu’s school is declining as the government encourages more micro mobility. Renewables are phasing out fossil fuels fast.

“Grandma says it’s just like it was back when she was a girl.”

“Look! Bikes everywhere, millions of them!”

“I became a water engineer because I read that Chinese civilisation rises and falls on how we manage our water.”

“The Pig hit – everyone knows the Pig, right? We had sponge cities, with green spaces and trees to slow the waters. We had the barriers, better infrastructure. Many places were destroyed, I won’t lie. But it could have been worse.”

“The water infrastructure we built this century – the dams, the barriers, sluices, irrigation channels, desalinations plants – is built to last far longer than me.”

“I’m proud of this legacy. China is good for another thousand years.”


Follow the stories of Ayotola, Carla, Samira and Shu as we see their lives unfold under both The Too Little Too Late and Giant Leap scenarios.