I feel it is unethical to lose our connection with the natural world. Most Americans do not know the difference between wheat and barely.
Along with RabbiEE, I too am a man of the cloth who flyfishes (Catholic priest and Benedictine monk). The quote above deals with a very serious matter that we'll be struggling with in the future. This is the first generation of people, in any time or place, that does not have significant and direct contact or involvement with the natural world. That's going to be a very significant challenge for pastors, teachers, counselors, etc. Just one example: one hundred years ago it wasn't all that necessary to talk much about sexuality. People saw it all the time in farm animals and it was obviously associated with life. It's not by coincidence that procreation and sexuality became diassociated (with disastrous effects in many cases) at the very same time that people's live became much less connected with the natural world through urbanization, industrialization, etc.
In terms of religious and spiritual development, I can see a couple of immediate things. The odd paradox is that people are very conscious right now of the environment and human activity within it, especially the effects. Yet, the same group isn't learning or encountering much through experience with nature. As it directly pertains to the Rabbi's question, people are going to be making decisions about flyfishing's humanity and ethics (and for that matter hunting and fishing in general) without ever seeing things like predator-prey, food chain, carrying capacity actually existing in the wild. As a kid, I got a lesson in these things by seeing a snake hunt a frog in a pond. It taught me that predation is natural and being preyed upon is simply part of a frog's life. As an adult, I learned a deeper lesson in this watching a doe from a deer stand. Every pop, crack, and snap brought her to a stop from browsing to look and sniff out the source and check for danger. Those who get their ideas about deer from the movie Bambi would think that a hunter is invading and terrorizing a poor, peaceful creature that means no harm. Seeing a deer in reality teaches you that a deer knows nothing of peace. It's reality is one in which danger and death are always an immediate possibility.
The other pastoral challenge, certainly for those of us who are theists, is that the natural order is a very important foundation for theological and philosphical insights. The present situation risks being cut-off from a very important source and experience of some of the most fundamental realities and mysteries of human existence. For example, something like Providence. It's something you can learn about from a sacred text, but that's not the same as seeing it and experiencing it in the natural world. There's a young, intellectually-promising monk here who recently decided to plant peanuts to make homemade peanut butter. He commented to me the other day, that in growing them and caring for them, it was his first significant experience of the natural order, soon followed by what he believes is an experience of divinity in the form of Providence.
As I understand, virtually any credible spiritual and religious outlook has this sort of experience. It's something very critical to human spiritual health, no matter what religion someone embraces as true.
People like RabbiEE and I are going to have our hands full. If you want to help, all of you who detect and feel spiritual overtones casting a fly rod and landing a fish need to be open about them with others. True, there's much more to the spiritual life, but that transcendent dimension that comes with flyfishing is vital and in danger of being lost. All of you can, figuratively speaking, bring people to the doorstep of the flyshop that people like RabbiEE and I run. we can take it from their. We're both trained to help people figure out the choices of rods, reels, and fly lines that constitute life.