The Arab Spring, referring to the chain reaction of revolutions in the Arab world, is considered to have begun in Tunisia (Dec. 2010) when a small produce seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, lit himself on fire to protest the government taking away his job. This event, along with the pressure from outside media sources, sparked the revolution of the younger generation in Tunisia that overthrew their prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi.
This single country's act started a snowball effect of democratic revolution that has rolled its way through Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, in a few smaller instances in other countries, and now Syria.
On March 11, 2011 the 5th largest earthquake ever recorded blasted Japan's eastern coast, triggering 133 ft. tsunami waves and shifting the Earth on it's axis by between 4-10 inches. 15,884 confirmed deaths were reported as a result of the incident, with estimated total economic costs of $235 billion USD, making it the most expensive natural disaster in history. The massive amount of damage caused by the tsunami resulted in level 7 meltdowns at 3 nuclear reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex. The meltdowns were ultimately contained, although radiation levels released are an ongoing concern.
Hurricane Sandy was a Category 3 storm that devastated Northwestern United States on October 2012. Also referred to as “Superstorm Sandy”, this hurricane had a diameter of 1,110 miles and affected 24 states including the stretch of the eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine; and the western region from the Appalachian Mountains to Michigan and Wisconsin. It created deadly storm surges in New York and New Jersey. Outside the US, Hurricane Sandy devastated Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bahamas and parts of Canada, destroying at least 600,000 homes. The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is estimated at $70 billion.
Glaciers all over the world have been melting for at least the last 50 years, and the rate of melting is speeding up, says the world’s leading Scientists.
Many glaciers across the US have shrunk dramatically. If the earth’s temperature keeps rising, glaciers will continue melting, and some could disappear completely. As glaciers and the giant ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica melt, they add more water into the ocean, which causes the overall sea level to rise.
This rise in sea level will ultimately force millions of people to flee the world’s low-lying locations.
Marriage is a complex subject, and in 1996, the federal government decided to stay out of it by allowing individual states to define what they consider "marriage." DOMA would allow a state such as, say, New York, to marry two men together, but then allow a state such as Alabama to refuse to recognize the union of these two men. This limited the marital benefits (like tax breaks) that same-sex couples could receive until it was modified in 2013.