How the Earth Changed History is the incredible story of the natural forces that have shaped our history. How the Earth Changed History is from the creators of Earth: The Biography and Walking With Dinosaurs and was released by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and is a co-production with the National Geographic Society. How the Earth Changed History aired on the National Geographic Channel June 20 through June 22. The DVD was released by the BBC and Warner Home Video on June 29.
How The Earth Changed History takes a look at how geology, geography, and climate have influenced the rise and fall of cultures and societies in our history as early as the beginning of civilization through to the modern industrial age. How The Earth Changed History looks at different forces that have had an impact on our history including the forces of deep earth, wind, water, fire, and the human planet.
The DVD is narrated by Professor Iain Stewart and the documentary walks us through the far corners of the world from Iceland to Egypt. The section on water explains how civilizations grew around areas of water which makes perfect sense and then goes on to explain in the deep earth section that these areas of water in some cases are right on fault lines. The section on wind discusses how the wind has influenced sailing and of course that has influenced trade and exploration as well. The fire section talks about how the discovery of fire allowed metalsmithing which allowed for better weapon manufacture which in turn influenced who won wars, etc. The human planet section talks about how we (people) have changed the earth since we've discovered how to use all the previous forces of the earth. While some of the things have had a positive impact, like irrigating crops, many have had a negative impact, like pollution.
The photography on this DVD set is absolutely amazing. You get to see things that you've probably never seen before like the bottom of a well hole in the Middle East that was used to find water – hundreds of feet below the desert. Iain Stewart has a Scottish accent which adds to the exotic feel of the narration. This is a fantastic combination of both history and science and would be wonderful used for homeschool or for anyone who has an interest in how we got to where we are today.
How the Earth Changed History is contained on two discs. "Water," "Deep Earth," and "Wind" are on disc one and "Fire" and "The Human Planet" are on disc two. There is approximately five hours of play time. Special features include "Filing in Extremes – An interview with Iain Stewart."