RE: Man and Biosphere: In defense of...
I have known MAB and have participated in some of their projects, and even in defining some. It is largely an innocuous scientific effort at gaining more knowledge about the biosphere and the interactions of humans with it. I reaffirm what DV has said that MAB, and by extension, UNESCO, has absolutely no regulatory and executive authority. It doesn't even have teeth!
Any fears for anything UN-ish in the US are of course by definition unfounded. The UN can act as an interfering force, usually only when the US wants it to. Superpower realities ensure that the UN is only used against others, never against oneself.
It should be added that as harmless, innocuous and "nice" as UNESCO was, it was the United States under adverse and chauvinistic administrations that decided to "do it in" and refused to pay its dues to this international educational, scientific and cultural organisation, and used strong-armed tactics to weaken and "neuter" it further. Unesco for Sannetters should be of a great deal of positive importance, since it has studies and advocated "rational use of the biosphere" long before any of us awakened to the environmental disasters and ecological issues. Unesco's Redneck detractors should not forget that during the harsh years of Eastern Europe, many of the scientists of the Eastern Block found a relatively safe haven to organise themselves for free scientific enquiry and discourse under the benign and constructive umbrella of Unesco, and, more specifically, of the Man and the Biosphere Programme. One such network, in the 1980s, covering most of the countries of Eastern Europe, and was precisely built around the topic of environmental planning and ecologically sound agriculture, and the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems in the face of state activities that were totally disregarding of environmental integrity and concern.
If anything could be done by Sannetters and other kind and concerned souls about reviving and getting back on track the MAB project in question, it would certainly be a small contribution to the welfare of the very people living in the area, and in the triumph of international solidarity for understanding and using wisely our natural heritage-- whether in the backwoods of the dominated societies or in the heart of the Superpower.