Have you ever thought about what the world looked like at the very beginning, when the planet was crawling with life forms we can barely imagine? What about your backyard? How has “geologic time” changed what might have been there?

Sometimes, we take for granted the complex geological history that brought us where we are today. What sort of animals inhabited what we now call cities? Are any of those species even still around?

Today we explore a topic many have probably never taken the time to think about. How would our lives be different today if Earth’s continents were arranged any differently? In particular, we answer the question, “How would our lives be different today if the Americas hadn’t connected?” It’s actually a question with a fascinating answer that goes far further than you may think.

We take for granted the fact that the ground beneath our feet has been, and always will be, in the same place. But our planet is remarkably dynamic and is shaped by the forces of change.

Collision of the Americas

TED-Ed guides us on a historical journey back in time

Via: TED-Ed 1
We’ve paired this video with thought-provoking discussion questions perfect for the classroom in this touchstone on our education platform, EWCed!

If you’re a frequent reader here at EWC, you must know what I’m about to say: we really love TED! With watching the above video of theirs, how can you not? If I do say so myself, EWC and TED are the only places I have found where smart people, curious and hopeful, can always come away transformed. Check out our list of favorites from TED here!

Fascinating, right? I’ve never thought about our planet’s past in quite that way.

Reflecting on Earth’s history like this forces us to think about our own future on this planet. Will we live to see continents collide in new ways? What impact have humans had in changing the landscape, the ecosystems, the flora and fauna of the places we inhabit?

As the Earth carries on, as it has for centuries, we should take time to marvel at our place within it all. The planet’s timeless forces remind us that we are just visitors here and that this planet doesn’t belong exclusively to us. Perhaps these are the perspectives we need as we move into the future.

Be understanding, be passionate, be joyous. But most of all, be yourself.


“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill

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  1. “What Happens When Continents Collide? – Juan D. Carrillo.” YouTube. TED-Ed, 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PddQvyiBfdc>.

Bethany is an editing and writing intern at Ever Widening Circles.