Chuntau is a fourteen-year-old immigrant from China who feels largely rejected by her community—that is until the prim, White Sandra takes notice of her, one day. Standing at Chuntau's locker, Sandra asked if she could see the goodies she had unearthed from a creek nearby. Chuntau invites the amazed Sandra to join her at the creek, and as they're swimming, Sandra finds a drenched fur coat in the ruins. The two laughing, Chuntau wants desperately to kiss her, but their biology teacher interrupts them. Fletcher calls out, ordering them to get out of the toxic water, and though Chuntau refuses, Sandra—the goody two shoes—obliges.
The following day, Chuntau faces two nightmares: Fletcher begins teaching a unit on climate change, and Sandra refuses to acknowledge her. As Fletcher imbues the children with fear about the climate crisis, she implores them to take action about it, forcing them do several stupid assignments to indicate their dedication to resisting climate change. When she has the students write letters to their Congressmen, Chuntau is unmoved, knowing that nothing comes of these letters because when she wrote one years ago asking for help after a customer at her mother's restaurant called her a slur, only to get no response.
Unable to get through to Chuntau, one day Fletcher attempts a new course of action: humiliation. She calls Chuntau to the front of the class, intending to shame her for her footprint on the environment, but Chuntau surprises her. Expecting to hear about her driving habits, how much meat she eats, and where she vacations, Chuntau reveals that she walks to school, is nearly vegetarian, and never goes on vacation. In fact, when her mother has any free time, they go down to the creek and explore together. When she implores Chuntau to protect the environment from people, Chuntau answers that she is protecting it—protecting it from people exactly like Fletcher; Chuntau receives two weeks detention for this comment, but also wins the respect of Sandra. Chuntau soon finds Sandra back down at the creek one day, asking to explore with her.
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