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On a cool Friday morning in New York City's Times Square, I took a grainy, poorly composed photo of some of the most beautiful, tacky, and bizarre ivory carvings I've ever seen.

Photos by Eric March/Upworthy.


Just a few hours later, every single one of them was crushed into little tiny bits by this machine.

GIFs by Eric March/Upworthy.

Never to be seen again.

At 8 a.m., the pre-pulverized statues were on display in all their weirdness.

Much about this is deeply unsettling.

Officer Neil Mendelsohn of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and his colleagues worked through the night arranging and posing hundreds of the illegal trinkets — all so they could be smashed into oblivion early the next morning.

"I actually built that structure in my garage," he told me. "I'm functioning on no sleep."

Crushing a bunch of ivory in one of the busiest intersections in the world might seem like a random thing to do on a Friday.

But it actually makes a (literal) ton of sense. Because poaching is no joke.

According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, 96 elephants are killed in Africa every day, mainly for their tusks. 100,000 elephants were poached between 2011 and 2014 alone.

Infographic by the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The "Ivory Crush" is a symbolic gesture. It won't make a big dent in the global ivory supply, and on its own, it won't stop poaching. But it's not designed to do either of those things.

The Ivory Crush is designed to send a message.

"When one country crushes ivory, another does. When one country says they're going to tighten their regulations, another does."
— Leigh Henry, senior policy advisor at the World Wildlife Fund

"China just announced they have the intention to close their domestic ivory market ... and they called out the U.S. to do the same," she told me. "I think some of it's competitive, It's just kind of human nature," Henry continued, "You don't want to be the first to give something up or the first to take the step. It's much easier to follow others."

#IvoryCrush is the *right* time to break out the elephant costume.

According to World Wildlife Fund officials, the global market for ivory is vast and complex, and motivations for buying ivory items vary greatly. For some, it's a status symbol. For others, owning a piece of ivory is a cultural signifier — a sign that you've made it. But perhaps most tragically, many people who buy ivory items don't fully understand what they're purchasing.

"Behind every piece of ivory is a dead elephant," Henry explained. "We find that a lot of people don't actually make that connection when they walk into a store to buy a piece of ivory. They don't understand that elephants have to be killed for that ivory."

Once the ivory is confiscated, it's off the market for good, and international law prevents it from ever being sold again. Destroying it does nothing to drive up the price, but ensures that if it somehow falls into the wrong hands, it's worthless.

Which is nice news for elephants. And elephants could really use some good news.


OK. I got it. You got it. This whole #IvoryCrush thing is good for the earth and good for elephants and happy and feely — all that jazz. Let's see some ivory get freaking pulverized.

You got it.

"OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG." — two-year-old you, probably.

"This machine is primarily for contractors doing recycling, demo, sand, and gravel rock," explained Tyler Trowbridge, territory manager for Powerscreen USA, the company that manufactures and operates the smashing machine.

"Stuff goes into what's called the hopper here..."

"...comes into the impact chamber — there's a big boulder in there spinning at 1800 rpm, and it's throwing the material against a steel apron that starts breaking the material..."

"...and then it spits it out."

"Normally it's [used to crush] boring recycled roads, recycled concrete, or rock," Trowbridge explained. "This isn't your typical application for us."

The U.S. government doesn't have a plan for what to do with all the crushed ivory yet.

Ride on, horse couple. Even though you have been crushed into little tiny bits, your spirit lives on.

It will remain in secure storage until they come up with something. But in the meantime, creative minds are working on ideas.

"Personally, I think it'd be really neat if they took all the pieces of ivory and made a statue of an elephant out of them," said Stephen Sautner, Executive Director of Communications for the Wildlife Conservation Society. "To represent all the elephants that have been killed."

Like this non-ivory elephant statue that I imagine it would look like:

Image by Cory Doctorow/Flickr.

I'd pay at least as much money as I would not pay for an ivory trinket to see that.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019


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