While social work education and literature includes a growing body of work focused on environmental justice and the role of social work in addressing environmental injustices, limited attention has been paid to the disproportionate impact of these issues in rural areas. Many rural places can be more accurately described as rural-industrial in character. They produce the world’s food through highly mechanized agro-businesses, its timber, and much of its fossil fuels through large mining and drilling operations, each presenting threats to the surrounding environment and local peoples. This work describes environmental issues and injustices common to select large-scale rural industries, discusses social work concerns related to these issues, and presents two case studies that can be used in social work education to promote critical thinking and social work problem solving at the individual, family, and community practice levels.

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