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A Fight Against The Effects‎ Of Sugarcane Burning By Florida’s‎ Generation Z



A Fight Against The Effects‎ Of Sugarcane Burning By Florida's‎ Generation Z

Christine Louis-Jeune returned‎ to Belle Glade, Florida, to‎ find a frightening memory of‎ sugarcane burning season. Locals called‎ the ash and soot “black‎ snow,” which exacerbated health issues‎ and prompted an urgent call‎ to action.

Louis-Jeune, an environmental‎ science student at Florida Agricultural‎ and Mechanical University, organizes the‎ Sierra Club’s Stop the Burn‎ campaign in Florida. Her experiences‎ in Belle Glade, a primarily‎ Black town, inspired her to‎ gather young activists against sugar‎ crop burning.

From October to‎ March, South Florida farmers burn‎ nearly 400,000 acres of sugarcane,‎ which harms locals’ health and‎ raises environmental justice issues. Many‎ low-income city residents have complained‎ about the yearly burning’s health‎ consequences, and research supports these‎ assertions.

Louis-Jeune’s project is part‎ of a more extensive campaign‎ to switch from sugarcane burning‎ to green harvesting, which uses‎ mechanical harvesting devices to remove‎ leaves and tops. The community‎ opposes this change due to‎ employment losses and economic repercussions.‎

The local sugar industry has‎ a complicated racial and economic‎ history. After growing up in‎ Belle Glade, Louis-Jeune has seen‎ the cycle of poverty and‎ environmental issues many inhabitants suffer,‎ calling it “environmental slavery.”

The‎ Florida sugar business downplays the‎ health effects of sugarcane burning‎ despite activist efforts and studies.‎ A 2021 inquiry found that‎ the region’s lone air quality‎ sensor had failed for years,‎ casting doubt on industry assertions.‎

Sugar businesses’ economic strength and‎ influence have made it difficult‎ for campaigners to get government‎ and other local support. Louis-Jeune‎ persists in highlighting the problem‎ and advocating for her community.‎

Louis-Jeune’s perseverance and passion represent‎ the common goal for a‎ future without socioeconomic or racial‎ discrimination in environmental justice. Her‎ and other activists’ initiatives signify‎ a rising movement to protect‎ sugarcane-affected communities’ health and well-being.‎

Belle Glade Environmental And Racism:‎

Belle Glade, Florida’s sugarcane capital,‎ struggles with systematic racism. The‎ yearly sugarcane burning season has‎ hit the primarily Black town,‎ resulting in “black snow” that‎ reminds locals of their environmental‎ injustices. Despite accumulating evidence of‎ this practice’s health risks, the‎ town’s requests for action have‎ been mainly ignored, underscoring racial‎ gaps in environmental regulation and‎ protection.

Sugarcane Burning: The Legacy Of Big‎ Sugar And Racism:

Belle Glade’s‎ sugar business is tainted by‎ racial suppression and economic exploitation.‎ Enslaved Africans worked hard to‎ build the sugarcane business, which‎ began in chattel slavery. Many‎ local people are still mired‎ in poverty and restricted financial‎ options due to this exploitative‎ structure. Despite its economic importance,‎ the sugar business has perpetuated‎ “environmental slavery,” causing health problems‎ and social inequality in the‎ primarily Black population.

Environmental Justice‎ Battle: Advocacy And Resilience

Young‎ environmental justice activists like Christine‎ Louis-Jeune have shown optimism despite‎ systematic racism and the sugar‎ business. Louis-Jeune’s perseverance, anchored in‎ her own experiences and propelled‎ by her community, delivers a‎ generation committed to changing the‎ current quo. Despite resistance and‎ the sugarcane industry’s political power,‎ Louis-Jeune’s unwavering advocacy reflects a‎ growing movement to end the‎ industry’s discrimination and create a‎ more equitable and sustainable future.‎

Read Also: A Florida Man Was Found‎ Guilty Of A Racially Motivated‎ Assault On Six Black Men‎ Near The Site Of The‎ Rosewood Massacre In 1923.

Health Effects And Inequality:

Belle‎ Glade’s yearly sugarcane fire has‎ far-reaching effects beyond smoke and‎ ash. Prolonged exposure to toxic‎ chemicals causes many health problems‎ for residents, especially underprivileged ones.‎ Sugarcane burning has been linked‎ to respiratory disorders, including asthma‎ and others. The town’s Black‎ population is disproportionately affected, highlighting‎ regional environmental inequities. Despite overwhelming‎ evidence that sugarcane burning is‎ dangerous, the industry’s claims of‎ safety ignore the misery of‎ people living in the fields’‎ shadows.

Collective Empowerment And Community‎ Resistance:

Belle Glade has created‎ a culture of collaborative resistance‎ and empowerment despite institutional limitations.‎ Residents, activists, and groups are‎ speaking out for sustainable and‎ fair sugarcane sector practices. Community‎ leaders like Christine Louis-Jeune, who‎ refuse to be silenced, have‎ led grassroots campaigns like the‎ Stop the Burn campaign. Community-led‎ efforts have stressed solidarity and‎ teamwork in challenging the current‎ quo and seeking responsibility from‎ powerful institutions that have disregarded‎ the town’s citizens.

Comprehensive Policy‎ Reform And Environmental Justice:

The‎ Belle Glade battle highlights the‎ need for comprehensive policy change‎ that promotes environmental justice and‎ resource equity. Advocates and scientists‎ stress the need for strict‎ sugar industry rules that protect‎ the environment and community health.‎ Green harvesting as an alternative‎ to sugarcane burning has gained‎ popularity, emphasizing the potential for‎ sustainable solutions that reduce the‎ town’s environmental and health dangers.‎ A comprehensive strategy based on‎ environmental justice and community well-being‎ is needed to solve the‎ sugar industry’s structural difficulties and‎ create a more fair and‎ sustainable future for Belle Glade‎ and its citizens.

Belle Glade‎ Youth Activism Leading Change

Christine‎ Louis-Jeune, a teenage Belle Glade,‎ Florida activist, spearheads the battle‎ against sugarcane burning. Her work‎ and those of other young‎ activists have emphasized the need‎ for environmental justice in systemically‎ racist areas. Youth activists are‎ changing environmental and racial justice‎ rhetoric via grassroots organizations and‎ social media. Their perseverance shows‎ how youth-led movements can change‎ the world and hold big‎ institutions and governments accountable. Youth‎ views help create lasting solutions‎ and empower communities as the‎ movement grows.

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