The Gospel of Sustainability: Media, Market and LOHAS

University of Illinois Press, 2011

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“Monica M. Emerich treats seriously the green culture and contextualizes the social changes that have repositioned such products as central to public discourse about capitalism and the material production of spirituality.”–Claire Hoertz Badaracco, author of Prescribing Faith: Medicine, Media and Religion in American Culture.


About The Gospel of Sustainability:

How are we to live? This deeply spiritual, moral, and ethical question of the ages is the heartbeat of the LOHAS–Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability–marketplace, valued at $215 billion and more than $500 billion globally. Google LOHAS and you’ll find that 40 million Americans are considered LOHASians, the word Newsweek magazine and use to describe people who buy “healthy” and “sustainable” products and services.

Even if you haven’t heard of the term LOHAS, you likely know it products. From organic produce and clothing to socially conscious investing and eco-tourism, the LOHAS movement encompasses diverse products and practces intended to contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle for people and the planet.

In the Gospel of Sustainability, Emerich explores the contemporary spiritual shift at the confluence of the media and market.  She argues that the LOHAS “texts”–those products and services, marketing materials, media, events, lectures, regulatory policies distributed in its name–project a spiritual message about personal and planetary health in order to reform capitalism by generating a different type of consciousness among consumers. At the core of LOHAS lies the question: how are we going to live in relationship to all of the other people, cultures, forms, spaces, concepts, structures, ideologies and organisms? This is a practical concern, and also a deeply spiritual one.

Read the Introduction: The Business of Consciousness