Heroes

One thing the Rio Olympics will get right this year: condoms.

Brazil wants all Olympic visitors to have safe, eco-friendly sex.

One thing the Rio Olympics will get right this year: condoms.

Rio has had no shortage of problems leading up to the 2016 Olympics, but one problem it definitely won't have is a shortage of condoms.

The Brazilian government plans to distribute 9 million free condoms during the Rio Olympics.


Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

So at least everyone can have safe sex while the country braces for a major recession, watches corruption mount in their government, and muddles through various health crises like the recent Zika outbreak and water contamination incidents.

These aren't ordinary condoms, however. They're doing a lot more than keeping STDs out and accidental Olympics-related pregnancies down.

They're made from sustainably produced wild rubber by a company called Natex that seeks to preserve the rainforest.

Photo by Kambou Sia/Getty Images.

These are the only condoms in the world made from wild rubber.

Before you ask — no, Wild Rubber is not Gumby's new R-rated nickname (sadly). Wild rubber is sourced by local rubber tappers who make a point of preserving the trees from which they're tapping. Because, believe it or not, rubber comes from trees. Really.

Wild rubber has a long history in South America, where Amazonian tapping has been a profession since the 19th century. For decades, rubber tappers have been doing everything they can to stop deforestation and protect their livelihood. Now, thanks to Natex and the Brazilian government, these local rubber tappers have strong support behind them.

The company has enlisted over 700 tree-tapping families to help fulfill its quota of producing 100 million condoms per year.

Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

Natex pays these families far above market value for the rubber they procure — 270% above to be exact. The Natex factory is located in Xapuri in the Amazonian state of Acre, which is also where famous conservationist Chico Mendes was gunned down trying to stop deforestation.

Just to show you how awesome it is that rubber comes from trees, check out these photos of rubber tappers at work:

Making diagonal cuts to release the rubber. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

It takes all day for the rubber to collect in a bucket. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

Tappers tap 100 trees a day on average. Photo by Gavin White/Flickr.

Condoms being forged from natural rubber. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

Sure, wild rubber condoms can't be made as quickly as synthetic condoms, but they're far superior in quality.

They're stronger because they're manufactured with fewer minerals. And, according to Natex, latex made from natural rubber is much smoother. So Olympics enthusiasts in Rio this summer can safely get their freak on without worrying about a faulty condom leading to Zika-related birth defects.

Not to mention Natex's condom factory is providing hundreds of jobs while minimizing its impact on the Amazon.

Brazil may not have it totally together, especially when it comes to the logistics of hosting a worldwide event like the Olympics, but they wrote the book on sustainable prophylactics. As such, they will be doling out the largest condom supply in the history of the Olympic Games.

And since the Olympic villages are infamous for rampant randy behavior, athletes and guests attending this year's Olympic Games may have actually found their most complimentary hosting city.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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