An ethics of home-making

Environmentally-focused teaching and learning centers upon a variety of metaphors that attempt to structure and clarify complex environmental problems and potential solutions. Some recognizable and problematic metaphors maintain that life is a process of survival, that ecology is a science of natural resource management, and that animals are objects. This paper demonstrates that home-making as a guiding metaphor presents students and educators with an opportunity to explore the myriad processes at work within individual species and ecological communities, as well as draw connections between studentsí personal experiences and that of other cultures and species. Reflecting upon home-making, we approach a more appropriate metaphor that inherently critiques the standing individualizing, catastrophic, and industrially-focused tone of current practices. This paper includes personal observation journaling and participant journaling from an experiential education program that introduced home-making as the metaphor for both group dynamics and natural history education among students ages 15 to 18. Some of the developmental implications and results of such guided reflections include an ability to explore similarities and differences between cultural and speciesí livelihoods; a greater recognition of the processes that involve home-making such as acquiring food, shelter, etc; ethical considerations that arise out of sharing physical spaces with other people, animals, and beings; and a recognition that despite differences, home-making is performed by beings everywhere. This paper contributes to a growing literature that recognizes home as a metaphor in teaching and learning by exploring the active, dynamic, and ethical considerations of home-making.