National Geographic : 1990 Jul
Power breakfast. Talk about your breakfast of champions. Add a few drops of Tabasco®sauce to your hash browns, scrambled eggs, grits, omelette -whatever. That'll get your engine started. The livelytaste ofTabascosauce. Dontkeepitbottledup. Forthe recipes of WalterMcllhenny in "A Gentleman's Guide to Memorable Hospitality," send$3.25 to Mcllhenny Co., Dept. GG,Avery Island, Louisiana 70513. © 1990. TABASCO is a registeredtrademark ofMcllhenny Company,Avery Island Louisiana 70513. FROM THE EDITOR: Water The Growing Crisis NEARLY EVERY SCHOOLCHILD knows that seven-tenths of our planet's surface is covered by water-seemingly an inex haustible supply for earth's five billion people. But the sobering fact is that 97 percent of that water is saline and unusable, leaving a meager 3 percent to nourish and sustain all terrestrial life. Moreover, the world's human population continues to explode, while the supply of fresh water remains constant. Just how that life-giving resource will be conserved and apportioned in the coming cen tury is one of the great problems that face us. Most Americans believe they are blessed with ample water, but the 1988 drought in the Great Plains and Midwest brought a shocking realiza tion: Already, given a bad year, there is simply not enough to go around. The cost to the American farmer and thus to all of us approached seven billion dollars, but other long-range effects defy a price tag. The drought drastically reduced the levels of many inland waterways, among them the Missouri River. There the reduced level severely affected nesting and breeding habitats of vari ous species of fish and waterfowl. As a result, least terns and piping plovers-already on the endangered list-are further threatened, and they may never recover their numbers. In this issue Nicole Duplaix offers a profile of another region facing severe water prob lems: south Florida. Most of the problems are self-inflicted, and some are impossible to reverse. That portrait is repeated thousands of times around the globe, wherever man's greed and lack of vision have outrun common sense and love for the land. The solutions? Conservation of water, for one. While the United States ranks sixth among water-rich nations of the world, we are third on the list in terms of waste and consumption. Desalination offers some long-range hope. U. S. research laboratories are exploring an ingenious technique of using heat from the tropical oceans to convert salt water into fresh, thus saving conventional forms of energy. Technology, however, is only a partial answer. The real solution-like the problem -is mankind itself. ^^%^-"