My mom sends me all kinds of random emails - word of the day, quote of the day, religious forwards, and links to various stories she thinks I would find interesting in one way or another. The other day she sent me a link to a story on the MSN page, from Newsweek, about a new group of people called Lohasians. It turns out that this is a term they learned about from Beliefnet, who describes them as the new New Agers, living Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS). It's actually a marketing term for the group of late twenty-somethings and early-mid thirty-somethings that are concerned with recycling, eating organic foods, and trying new types of spirituality (or mixing parts from a variety of old spiritualities to be more accurate). They even give information on the 2006 LOHAS conference.
Why did my mom send this to me? Was it just something cool she found? Does she consider me to be one of these "Lohasians"? Is this a good thing? I will readily admit that I try to eat more organic foods, look for ways to recycle and buy recycled products, and am very interested in a wide variety of spiritual practices, but I am very leery of labels, especially when they are developed by marketers and sound like some kind of fusion ethnic term. I can't help but think back to when all the talk was going on in the media about "Generation X" and how we were all bitter, lazy, and lacked a sense of identity. Now we're being made out to be some kind of earthy, spiritual gumbo group worthy of marketing strategies - ugh!
I'm not upset about the conversation itself - anything to make the sustainable lifestyle more popular and easily accessible is great - but do we always have to come at it from a marketing standpoint? Why is this conversation happening becuase of business rather than because of religious values and teachings?? I don't live this way because it's cool, or affordable - I do it because I believe it's what God would like us all to do and it's what we need to for each other. And yet, even on a site called Beliefnet, they are not talking about it as a movement begun in religious teachings, but as a market. So for me personally, I'm not including myself in this group. I don't want to be called a Lohasian (but if you want to see if you fit in this group, there's a quiz you can take). If I have to choose a label (and we all do at some point, in some way) I'm going to reach back and align myself with movements that did this before me, people who helped make the way I live possible from their actions years ago.