The opening general session of the Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts opened on a note that had only marginal ties to soil conservation. Scott Russell Sanders, a retired Indiana University professor and author, was the first speaker at the 3 day meeting in Indianapolis; but, instead of talking about soil and water conservation, Sanders lectured the over 400 in attendance on economic conservation. His 45 minute harangue was a one-sided indictment of capitalism, consumerism, and the free market system. In his presentation, called From Consumption to Conservation , he urged his audience to buy less, eat less, and waste less. He blamed technology, the media, advertising, and the government for the social, environmental, and spiritual problems in the world today.
Sanders advocated a society where everyone had enough to eat but was not obese, cared about their community and one another, used very few resources, and recycled what they did use. He advocated population control because too large of a world population would overwhelm the earth’s ability to sustain so many people. In addition, he advocated government subsidies of wind and solar energy and the prevention of more oil drilling , nuclear power, and coal mining.
During the presentation, only passing mention was made of soil and water conservation which in Indiana is funded largely by the cigarette tax, a tax based on consumption.