Ian Somerhalder may be off from filming The Vampire Diaries right now, but that doesn’t mean he’s off the clock. He’s been using his production break to travel the world to raise awareness about the social and environmental issues that mean the most to him. What is he up to right now? Read on to find out!

Ian was just in Washington D.C. to testify in front of Congress about the international ivory trade and how it is decimating the world’s elephant population. He shared this Instagram photo, along with the caption: “Wow. My Testimony: Before the U.S House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Plan to Implement a Ban on the Commercial Trade in Elephant Ivory and the Consequences of that Policy. I will do my absolute best-you'll be there with me in that room on Capitol Hill. You give me so much strength, you inspire me to do more, not sleep and forge the future with you for us all. Wish me LUCK! PLEASE!”

The campaign to ban the international ivory trade is one close to Ian’s heart. He tweeted angrily about it last week, and his non-profit, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, has an entire page devoted to educating others on the dangers of the ivory trade, stating: “The threat to the African elephant presented by the ivory trade is unique to the species. Larger, long-lived, slow-breeding animals, like the elephant, are more susceptible to overhunting than other animals. They cannot hide, and it takes many years for an elephant to grow and reproduce...While elephant populations are increasing in parts of southern and eastern Africa, other African nations report a decrease of their elephant populations by as much as two-thirds.”

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!