Starfish Story

This is one of my favorite stories — when I get overwhelmed with the state of the world and what I can do, I think of this story.

There was a huge storm along the coast in an ecologically sensitive area.  Scientists and researchers walked along the beach, assessing the damage.  The beach was  covered with thousands of starfish and other marine animals, dead or dying in the sun.  As they rounded a curve they saw a little girl picking up starfish, one by one, and throwing them back into the ocean.   One of the researchers said, “Why are you doing that?  This is an ecological disaster, and what you are doing won’t begin to make a difference.”

The little girl looked at him for a moment, then picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean.  She answered, “It makes a difference to that one.”

Remember —  you can make a difference.


P.S.  This was the story the way I heard it, but it is taken from an essay by Loren Eisely, “The Star Thrower.”  Thank you, Lorena!


About judithornot

Lives in semi-rural Northern California, happily married, retired counselor, night person, knits, plays WoW.
This entry was posted in nature, social issues, Sustainable living and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Starfish Story

  1. I love this story! 🙂 I think one of my friends posted it on last year sometime. It makes me smile every time I read it!


  2. Nice. I really like this…


  3. ironwing says:

    Please, please read the original version of this story. It has been plagiarized, simplified, and modified so many times by people trying to fit it into a Hallmark card that it has lost most of its meaning. The original version is much more complex and powerful, though long and rather deep by the standards of modern nature writing. It’s an essay called “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley. It was originally published in his essay collection, “The Unexpected Universe”, but was reprinted in a collection called “The Star Thrower” which is an anthology of his most popular essays. He was a naturalist/anthropologist who wrote several books of poetry, a couple of books on Charles Darwin, several books of nature essays, and an autobiography called “All the Strange Hours”. He is probably best known for his first essay collection, “The Immense Journey”, which contains his beloved story “The Bird and the Machine.”
    Loren Eiseley was a Nebraska native, and many of his essays are about the fossil-rich badlands of the High Plains. He was also fascinated with human evolution and the history of life on earth. He died in 1977. I don’t know if any of his work is still in print, but you can often find paperbacks in used bookstores or on ebay.


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