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Need a break? Here are 6 videos of nature to watch LIVE right now.

Everyone should spend time outdoors. But for folks who don't happen to live near elephants or puffins, these six live nature webcams provide a fantastic taste of wildlife and beauty from around the world.

Need a break? Here are 6 videos of nature to watch LIVE right now.

Sometimes, all you want to do is get out and appreciate Mother Nature.

Goro the adventurous Corgi on Mount Fuji. Image via Goro@Welsh corgi.


But sometimes (OK, a lot of the time), it just isn't feasible to spend your entire day staring at Niagara Falls or hoping an elephant walks by your window.

So for those of us who need to bring the great outside world into our homes or offices or computer screens or what have you, I present to you …

Six of the best* free live nature cams on the Internet.

*Entirely based on my own opinion and research. Got a better one? Come at me, bro.

And hey, DISCLAIMER: The ones I picked are all pretty reliable (they've worked well for me so far), but they are live streams. Sometimes the video goes out for a bit. Don't despair! Just check back later.

1) Underwater view of Cayman coral reef

Screenshot taken June 19, 2015. Image via Teens4Oceans and explore.org.

How could this one not make the list? It's UNDERWATER! THAT'S THE COOLEST.

This camera is located just off the island of Grand Cayman in the Caribbean Sea. It's kind of like having an aquarium in your room, but score! you don't have to clean it.

Better take a look at this beautiful reef while you can. Globally, 32% of monitored reef formations are at risk of being lost in the next 32 years due to human activities in oceans. Womp womppp.

Maybe catching a glimpse of a real live coral reef every day on this live stream will help us remember how important it is to take care of our oceans.

Watch the Cayman reef cam here.

2) International Space Station looking at Earth

Screenshot from the cam taken June 19, 2015. Image via NASA.

WHAAAAT how cool is this!?

This one's a live view of Earth from the International Space Station (ISS), the low-orbit space station research lab launched in 1988.

According to NASA, the ISS orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes. So if you watch the live stream for a while, you should see a sunrise or sunset about every 45 minutes. I didn't catch one, but the view of Earth steadily moving beneath the camera was still pretty darn amazing.

Watch the ISS cam here.

3) Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge — puffins!

Screenshot from cam taken June 19, 2015. Image via Audubon Project Puffin and explore.org.

Seal Island is a National Wildlife Refuge in Maine that's managed by the National Audubon Society and a division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The island is home to a few different seabirds, including a restored — you guessed it — puffin population.

In 1984, nearly 1,000 young puffins were transferred to the island from Newfoundland in an attempt to boost the local puffin population. Before that, puffins hadn't nested in the area since the late 1800s — they were pushed out by excessive hunting, egging, and displacement. But by 2012, more than 500 pairs of puffins were nesting again thanks to the restoration efforts.

Go puffins, go!

Watch the puffin cam here.

4) African animal lookout in Kenya

Screenshot of off-air video. Image via Mpala Research Centre and Wildlife Foundation, and explore.org.

Chances are, you're not in Kenya right now. And chances are, you can't see elephants from your window, either.

This is a fun one where you can get a taste of some exotic animals that aren't at a zoo. Toggle between the animal lookout, a watering hole cam, and a couple other options for a variety of exotic animal views (giraffes! hippos!). Bonus: chirping birds pretty much all the time.

When the video is offline (like when it's dark out in Kenya), it will sometimes show recorded highlights of animals like these elephants. At those times, a little "off air" tag shows up in the bottom-right of the video.

Watch the animal lookout cam here.

5) Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Screenshot from cam taken June 9, 2014. Image via National Park Service.

It may not be a live stream (the camera shows a new still image every 15 minutes), but the view from Purchase Knob in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is ridiculous.

After Andrew Jackson forcefully relocated over 16,000 native people from this region in the 1800s (thousands died along the way), logging became the main industry in these beautiful mountains. But as the decades passed, folks started to worry that clear-cutting was destroying the area, and they began a push to protect the land with a national park.

It took many years, but piece by piece, the park was put together. Now it's the most visited national park in the U.S.

You gotta check out the view on this one. 10/10, would refresh page again.

Check out the Purchase Knob view here.

6) Niagara Falls, Canadian side

Screenshot from the cam taken June 17, 2015. Image via niagarafallslive.com.

This camera shows the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, sometimes called the Horseshoe Falls. Don't worry about missing out on the American side (psh!) — most of the water that flows over all the falls actually flows over the Canadian side.

The plus side of this cam is that there's pretty much always something to look at (spoiler alert: that something is water). Also, the live stream is accompanied by the most lovely and soothing sound of a gigantic waterfall. I used to be a fan of using a white noise generator occasionally, but I def will be replacing it with this never-ending video of Niagara Falls.

Watch the Niagara Falls cam here. NOTE: This one uses Adobe Flash Player.

Honorable mentions:

There are so so so so many other amazing nature cams out there, I couldn't possibly include them all.

One great one I left out is the Pennsylvania bald eagle nest cam, where you can actually watch eagles hatch from eggs. Seriously! The prime viewing season for this one is February-March, which is when the eggs develop and hatch.

And if all you need right now is a fix of pure CUTE, check out the cameras from Warrior Canine Connection (via explore.org), an organization that trains therapy service dogs for veterans. Alert: Do not click on this one if you don't have five minutes to squeal about puppies.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."