I feel that our connection with Earth is solely based on our individual life experiences, and how we view it is dependent on what those experiences consisted of. For example, it is no doubt that those who have spent more time outdoors have a greater appreciation and concern for land and its inhabitants, and those who have not have appreciation for other things like technology. Religion cannot be the biggest factor in shaping someone’s connection with the earth, since despite whatever religion they hold, we have seen tribal and Pacific societies generally holding a higher value for scarce resources and the land they live on because they all had to live within their means in order to survive, (unlike many technologically advanced societies today). In saying this, I feel that we are not well connected to the earth because of our extreme advancement over the past century. While it has seemed to cause a disconnect in conditioning most to act out of self-benefit and not ecological benefit, there are also areas we can be ethically sensitive to, like hunting.
Recently for another class, I had to survey five people on their views of hunting. None of these people hunted or were educated within wildlife ecology/resource management, and I found that they generally had the same answer- that it is not right to hunt for sport. The only time it is acceptable to hunt is if it is for food and survival. From an environmentalist/ecological perspective, hunting (when regulated) can have great benefits for specific areas, like preventing a key species from dying out from predation, controlling an invasive species, or keeping one from overpopulating and causing competition for other species. Sometimes hunting is done simply to protect surrounding communities or prevent wildlife-human conflict. Without being educated on this topic, the average person would not recognize these benefits. It takes education to make people more aware about what is occurring in our world on a daily basis, and I do feel that humans can change the pace of climate change through education. If more people were educated about ecological issues and the importance of managing them properly, it is no doubt that misguided viewpoints (like those of hunting) would no longer be an issue of ethics and we could work together to make well-rounded decisions.