17 stunning photos of the Great Barrier Reef that just might inspire you to save it.

The Great Barrier Reef is seriously magnificent.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is one spectacular (and sometimes scary, but always beautiful) place.

1. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a lion fish. Gorgeous, but dangerous. All images via iStock.


I mean, just look at it...

2. Don't you want to jump right in?

It's unlike any other reef in the world.

3. Beneath the surface of that water is a whole lot of life.

Why? Well, for starters, it's enormous.

4. Now that's a view.

It covers over 1,400 miles (that's more than the distance from New York City to Miami, FYI), and is the only living thing visible from space.

The Great Barrier Reef — the largest coral reef on Earth — actually comprises more than 3,000 smaller reef systems and hundreds of islands.

5. Check out the Whitsunday Islands. They're beautiful!

It has World Heritage status and definitely deserves it.

World Heritage status is the United Nations' way of deeming a certain place or human creation as having significant cultural or physical value to humanity. National Geographic perfectly explains why the reef has been designated as such:

"The most riveting sight of all — and the main reason for World Heritage status — is the vast expanse of coral, from staghorn stalks and wave-smoothed plates to mitt-shaped boulders draped with nubby brown corals as leathery as saddles. Soft corals top hard ones, algae and sponges paint the rocks, and every crevice is a creature's home. The biology, like the reef, transforms from the north — where the reef began — to the south. The shifting menagerie is unmatched in the world."

6. Look at these yellow and white beauties.

The Great Barrier Reef is more than just beautiful, though — it's home to an absurd amount of unique species.

Like puffer fish.

7. Puffer fish are amazing ... but definitely don't eat one.

And clown fish.

8. Yes, like Nemo!

Giant potato cod also call these waters home.

9. This big fella can change colors depending on its surroundings.

As well as parrot fish.

10. Colorful, huh?

And lion fish.

11. Remember this beautiful specimen from photo #1?

You might spot a jellyfish floating around Down Under, too.

12. If you don't know how to stay safe from jellyfish, you should.

Or, if you're lucky, one of these things! A marine turtle.

13. These are just the coolest.

Don't forget about octopus, either.

14. These species are way cool ... especially the mimic octopus.

Or trigger fish, which aren't shaped this way by accident.

15. Trigger fish are long and slim — perfect for slithering into coral crevices.

I could go on and on — seriously, there are over 1,800 species of fish alone in the Great Barrier Reef — but you get my drift.

These creatures (and so many others) are incredibly important to ocean wildlife.

And that's why it's essential that their home stays protected.

16. Why would we ever want to destroy a place that looks like this?

We need to take action in big ways — like get serious in our fight against climate change (which is already affecting many of the reef's species) and protect the coral and its inhabitants from those of us humans who enjoy fishing and collecting (even if it's at the expense of an entire ecosystem).

If we want to, we can keep the ocean life off Australia's coasts thriving for generations to come.

That's why you should support the Wilderness Society, who are fighting Big Oil in Australia.

The group is demanding that BP stays out of the Great Australian Bight — another pristine marine region Down Under. Fun fact: More than 85% of the species in the shallows of the Bight can be found nowhere else on Earth!.

To support the Wilderness Society, sign their petition to keep BP out of the Bight for good.

17. I'm fairly certain Nemo and his friends would appreciate us protecting their home.

Heroes
True
The Wilderness Society


Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared