Until I find a better word, I'll use orientation to mean the way that earth's crust and mantle fit over its core. Click http://www.thetech.org/hyper/quakes/inside/core.html
The earth's molten core has a magnetic field, with magnetic poles. As we find the earth presently, the North Pole of the crust does not line up with the magnetic North Pole. Every pilot has to make adjustments in using a magnetic compass, because the North Pole we are familiar with, is quite a distance from the magnetic North Pole of our molten core.
Various explanations have been offered for the differences. The theory that appeals to me the most is the idea that over time the earth has taken many many hits from space objects. The net result of all of the hits is that the mantle has shifted so that the two poles are not in alignment.
Researchers from Caltech and the University of Puerto Rico found evidence (Discover Magazine, Svitil, Kathy A., 11-01-1997) that the tectonic plates have shifted and drifted over the mantle and core. At one time the changing weights of the plates combined to slide the mantle around the molten core and dramatically changed the mantle and crust's orientation.
Geologists, paleontologists, and all sorts of other scientists are constantly finding evidence that the earth wasn't always the way we find it today. Under the ice covering Antarctica there is a huge fresh water lake that is still liquid. In Los Angeles the La Brea tar pits show that California was once home to mammoths, tigers, and all manner of animals foreign to North America. Under deserts, we find seabeds. Under forests we find evidence of glaciation.
It seems if you dig down almost anywhere, you'll find evidence of plants and animals that are unusual for that areas climate. In my own backyard in Florida, when the bull-dozers turned over earth for a new golf course, the neighbors collected fossilized sharks teeth. And, we are many miles from the seashore.
So, we know that the way we find the earth today is vastly different from ways it has been in the past. Of the many explanations that have evolved over the years, my personal favorite is the idea that the crust and mantle have shifted over its core.
This also suggests the possibility that maybe we could use thrusters to change the orientation of the crust and/or mantle. Here are just a few of the possibilities:
Maybe we could use thrusters to counter the drift of the tectonic plates. If the plates stopped pushing against one another, perhaps we could reduce the occurrence of earthquakes. If we help the plates to separate rather than crash together, we might, for example, lower the Rocky mountains in North America which create the deserts of the American West. One might consider the Himalayas as well. Often when plates collide, they form Mountains, which are hard to use for living or growing crops. Mountains almost always create deserts, as they collect the airs moisture on the wet side. Deserts are also not optimal for habitation or for growing crops.
If we carefully moved tectonic plates that meet underwater towards each other, we might facilitate the growth of new land masses as mountains grow where the plates meet and rise above the water. Also, we might facilitate new islands where the plates are separating, in the same way that Hawaii and Iceland are constantly growing new land as lava comes up to fill the gap.
In the next hundred years or so, if population continues to grow, our great great great grandchildren may find they need more land that is arable. If you take a globe and imagine the various ways they might spin the crust and/or mantle, you can see that four or five generations from now, they may find the political will to re-orient the crust to maximize the livability and fertility of the maximum amount of land.
(Mostly, I've included the above frivolities for your amusement, and just to touch on all the possibilities. Honestly, I think it might be very dangerous to use thrusters to reverse the drift of the tectonic plates. Flattening out the North American Rockies would be a very difficult way of creating more livable and arable land. Especially, since there are much easier ways we could use thrusters to accomplish the same ends. Read on!)