The sky is blue? Swimming after eating is bad? Santa is real?! These are all things we once took for the truth. But now I have another thing to add to this list: Second grade geography is a lie.
OK, well that’s not entirely true. It’s still true that the Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean. Eurasia is still the biggest land mass. And if you are a flat Earther looking for validation in your weird-ass dogma, you can leave now because the Earth is still round. Second grade geography teachers got that much right.
What they didn’t get right: continents. Everyone really had us believing that continents were somehow different than islands when in reality, continents are just glorified islands. (Like how stupid are we?)
Per the internet, an island is defined as a piece of land surrounded by water. Well, isn’t a continent simply a giant piece of land surrounded by water? Australia, Africa, Eurasia, America. They are all just giant islands, floating around the ocean.
Feel betrayed? Good. Now let me continue to rock your world a little more.
This begs the question: is continent just a fancy name for an island or do continents simply not exist? If you said the former, you’re obviously wrong. It is ludicrous to fill the minds of children with one more word to learn.
As such, we should call continents what they really are, islands, and skip the confusion of unnecessarily assigning fancy names to geographical features.
If we really want to get specific with our terminology, then we should stick to quantifying land masses by size. Large land masses should be called large islands. Any small land masses should be called small islands. I realize this might confuse island chains like Hawaii that have a designated ‘big island,’ but they will manage.
This brings me to my next point, why do we even have all these crazy geographic names for land masses? We should just call everything island and move on with our lives! I mean, there is absolutely no need to memorize the differences between an isthmus and a strait. An isthmus is just an island-connector and a strait is just an island-divider. So, let’s call them as such and forget the nonsense names.
I mean, who even decided to call something an isthmus? It is phonetically difficult to say and spell. Quite honestly, that word looks like someone’s cat ran their paw over the keyboard and the name stuck.
While I am sure you are convinced by now, I know better than to rest the entirety of my argument on my own outlook. Being the somewhat magical wizard that I am, I prepared for this op-ed before I even knew I was writing it. That is why exactly 21 weeks ago I issued a Twitter poll with the question: “Is Africa an island, given that it is a land mass with water on all sides?” To my disappointment, the majority of respondents said no. However, it was also encouraging to discover that 46% of respondents agreed that Africa is an island.
Based off of this statistically significant data, I think it fair to say that it might take a while to change the public’s mind that continents are merely large islands. But it is not impossible and clearly will be for the better!
To begin this change of lexicon, basic geographical curriculum must be revamped. We need to do away with tedious and obscure jargon such as isthmus and strait and begin to use island-centric language.
Besides unifying and simplifying geography, this transition would ultimately lead to more transparency between children and adults. Children are extremely impressionable and filling them with fabrications instead of the truth is unscrupulous.
Continents are glorified islands and it’s time we start spreading that truth like wildfire.
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