On World Environment Day, soak in these amazing Earth photos

It's a day to see the environment through what may be a slightly different lens: 50 incredible images of our planet.

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A California sea lion hunts for fish on a kelp paddy at Cortes Bank, a seamount off the coast of San Diego. It's a trove of marine life that deserves protection, conservationists say. (See 50 dramatic photos from Earth)

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Camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia look like a painting when photographed at dawn.
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Orphan elephants mudding in a human-made waterhole in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya.
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Fire burns through a wheat field in Madhya Pradesh, India. The region has experienced worsening drought over the years.
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Grand Prismatic Spring, the world's third largest hot spring, is seen from above in the Midway Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park.
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In Palau's biodiverse waters, scientists find life is thriving under the seas. Here, a tiny goby camouflages with a branch of red coral.
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A goliath birdwing hatches in a kitchen in West Papua, Indonesia.
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Pivot irrigation must be done in a circular pattern. Seen from above, a farmer rakes hay into windrows.
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A giraffe fawn grazes from a tree in Loisaba Wilderness in northern Kenya. Giraffes' primary food source is acacia leaves, which most other herbivores cannot reach.
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Rich soil called Palouse loess covers the rolling fields of eastern Washington in the western U.S.
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Workers harvest celery from a farm in California's Salinas Valley. The region is famous for agriculture.
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A park ranger at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya is nuzzled by an 18-month-old black rhino named Kilifi who was hand-raised with two other baby rhinos.
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Ziglab Dam in Jordan has seen six years of drought. Measuring sticks record how much water has been lost.
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Phoenix, Arizona, built in the middle of a desert, requires vast amounts of water to keep its suburbs green.
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A woman attempts to clean what is left of her home in the mountains of southern Haiti weeks after Hurricane Matthew.
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Children play on the shore of Manila Bay in the Philippines, which is polluted by household waste, plastics, and other trash.
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Plastic caught on a barbed wire fence.
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The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
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A Kurdish family picnics in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.
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Fleeing from a predator, emperor penguins swim at the water's surface in Antarctica.
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A couple embraces at Crater Lake in Oregon.
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Colorful fish swim above a healthy reef in the Lesser Sundra Islands, Indonesia.
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Kids pick through garbage thrown off a bridge to find pieces they can sell to recycle shops.
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A worker harvests palm fruit on a plantation in Sarawak, one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. These mature trees are about 25 years old, which means they will soon be cut down and replaced.
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Wildflowers undergo a "superbloom" in Death Valley National Park thanks to high amounts of rainfall from the previous year.
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Pools of evaporating salt water produce slurries of different colors in Niger.
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Conservation rangers and Congolese Army soldiers conduct a long range patrol to locate and destroy an armed rebel group.
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A girl splashes in Lake Urmia, Iran. Summertime bathers wade into waters colored red by salt-loving bacteria and algae. Tourists from across Iran have come here for generations, but the number of visitors has fallen as the lake has shrunk by 80 percent since the 1980s.
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A glacier disintegrates in Norway.
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Bangladeshi migrant workers unload sand from Indian-owned boats on the Thane Creek, India.
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At a coal terminal, railcars loaded with coal line up to fill waiting ships in Virginia.
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The lava at Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is made of an alkali-rich volcanic rock.
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At Jumeirah Beach in the United Arab Emirates, a solar-powered, 21-foot Smart Palm provides a Wi-Fi signal, charging station, lamppost, bulletin board, security camera, and emergency call button.
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The polar bear's weak muscles, seen in Canada's Arctic north, were atrophied by extended starvation.
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Reza Manafzadeh works on a fruit-tree farm at the edge of a Lake Urmia, Iran, where crops are irrigated by a new method—recycled factory water brought by tanker truck.
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Access roads and terraced fields erase Sarawak's rolling lowlands in Malaysia.
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Tania López, seven, plays with her cat in a room in her Guatemala home where walls were blackened by an old open fire. The new stove, provided by StoveTeam International, is efficient and safe to touch.
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Beef sits on display at a supermarket in Dallas, Texas.
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After sheets of clear plastic trash have been washed in the Buriganga River, a woman spreads them out to dry so they can be sold to a recycler in Bangladesh.
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In the Cave of Crystals in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico, massive beams of selenite dwarf three explorers.
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The historic center of Cerro de Pasco, Peru, has been largely consumed by a quarter-mile-deep mine, now operated by a subsidiary of Volcan Compañía Minera. The mine produces mostly lead and zinc.
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Giant Sequoia trees tower in the old growth forest of California's Sequoia National Park.
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Parakeets with cobalt-colored wings flock to a pool to eat clay in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador.
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The Yanan expressway crosses under the North-South expressway in Shanghai, China.
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Parents do what they can to protect their children from dangerous smog in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, one of the world's most polluted cities. Here a mother adjusts her son's mask before he walks to school.
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Steam and smoke rise from the cooling towers and chimneys of a power plant in Juliette, Georgia.
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A night view of a waterfall and icicles in Iceland, accented by the northern lights.
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In Canada's moss-draped Great Bear Forest, a Kermode bear eats a fish.
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A worker uses a mallet to dislodge frozen tuna from a Chinese cargo vessel docked at the port of General Santos in the Philippines.
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Fireflies in flight in the forest at Santa Clara Sanctuary in Nanacamilpa, Mexico.
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Created in 1974 by the UN, World Environment Day happens every June 5. Hosted by a different country each year—this year it’s China—the day seeks to raise public awareness of environmental issues.

“The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment,” says the UN’s website.

In celebration of World Environment Day, we’ve collected 50 of our most stunning photos of the natural world. 

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