45th Annual Society for Case Research & Global Jesuit Case Series Summer Workshop

Experience level: 
Phebe Davis-Culler

Scars from the Flames: The Impact of Sugar Cane Burns on Minority Communities

Sugar cane companies in South Florida create deadly externalities to the Black and Latino communities south of Lake Okeechobee. The burning of sugar cane fields creates ash known as black snow, which travels up to 20 miles from the burn sites. The burns have been linked to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses of the residents. Yet the sugar cane companies deny any negative effects of the burns and are afforded legal protection by the state of Florida. As we currently experience unhealthy air quality in the US because of Canadian wildfires, imagine living like this your entire life. That has been the life of the minority communities located near sugar cane fields. This case addresses externalities, environmental ethics, and environmental justice.