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Remember in November: Marriage equality, global warming and death with dignity

The Nov. 4 elections ushered in a Republican majority in the House and the Senate, taking control away from Democrats who took a majority six years ago. Now more than ever, citizens should be keeping a close eye on the political world to look out for inevitable legislative changes that could change the way people live.

During the Democrats' six years in control, tremendous health care reforms were made, stimulus packages were passed and a few states enacted new measures regarding marijuana legalization and marriage equality. 

On Nov. 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes was arrested in relation to the Gunpowder Plot - an explosive attempt to change the face of the British government. A poem commemorating the event begins, "Remember, remember the fifth of November..."  In the spirit of governmental reform - achieved preferably through legal channels and not with gunpowder - here are a few important topics you should remember.

Global warming heats up
While eager environmental activists attempt to clean up the pollution caused by big business and the activities of day-to-day life, a United Nations report recently outlined that the effects of global warming may be so serious that they could possibly stall or even reverse the progress made in solving world hunger and poverty, The New York Times reported. While each increase in greenhouse gas emissions raises the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere, energy companies continue to spend around $600 billion annually to find more coal and petroleum reserves.

"We've seen many governments delay and delay and delay on implementing comprehensive emissions cuts," Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University, told the NYT. "So the need for a lot of luck looms larger and larger. Personally, I think it's a slim reed to lean on for the fate of the planet."

Death with dignity 
The social media world lit up with traffic after news outlets reported that death-with-dignity advocate Brittany Maynard chose to take her own life, according to CNN. The 29-year-old reportedly claimed she had terminal brain cancer and sought to use Oregon's Death with Dignity Act to receive medication to end her life legally. The event has sparked a controversy cornering the moral obligation of supplying patients with medication to voluntarily end their own lives.

In a poll administered by Opinion Outpost, the source asked 3,668 respondents, "Do you agree with such an act that allows assisted suicide?" Around one-third of individuals responded with "no," while a majority - 67 percent - claimed they agreed with the act.

Marriage equality
After uphill battles in almost every state, marriage equality has finally garnered widespread approval, culminating in a critical Supreme Court decision. On Oct. 6, the nation's highest court ruled that it would not hear any appeals against previous court rulings that upheld the right of gay men and women to marry in states that forbade such unions, according to The Economist. Now, overturning marriage equality laws in states that have legalized gay marriage is highly improbable. A majority of Americans now have the right to marry whomever they choose, and marriage equality in more states is a likely possibility. 

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