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

They say that kids say the darnedest things, and seriously, they do. Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time with young children knows that sometimes the things they say can blow your mind.

Since teachers spend more time around little kids than anyone else, they are particularly privy to their profound and hilarious thoughts. That's why NYC kindergarten teacher Alyssa Cowit started collecting kid quotes from teachers around the country and sharing them on her Instagram account, Live from Snack Time, as well as her websiteand other social media channels.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Veve Bee

It's incredible how many myths about the female body persist, despite all of us living in the information age. Young and old, educated or not, we're all susceptible to misinformation — especially when the same false info gets shared widely without question or correction.

Exhibit A: The female hymen.

Rapper T.I. made headlines recently with his horrific description of accompanying his 18-year-old daughter to the gynecologist to have her hymen checked. According to him and countless others like him, the hymen is a sign of virginity — a gateway of sorts that indicates whether or not a woman has had sex (or otherwise been vaginally penetrated). Popular belief has it that the hymen is a thin layer of tissue in the vagina that "breaks" the first time a woman has sex, so an "intact" hymen is proof of virginity.

The problem is that's a bunch of anatomically incorrect hogwash.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular