Posted by: conradvisionquest | April 23, 2010

Making a Difference

Sometimes when I think of all the animals that die each year because of humans I get discouraged. This story always makes me feel better.

I’m sure many of you have read it before. It’s been emailed to me even before I stopped eating animals. But it has a deeper meaning for me now. Whenever I feel like I am not doing enough because I can’t save the entire world, I look at my two girls, and I think of this story.

While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

This story has been circulated around the web in many versions, usually with no mention of author. It is said to be paraphrased from “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley, 1907 – 1977.



  1. I heard this story on an episode of Nanny 911, where this family had like 20 adopted children. It is quiet touching. My favorite quote (I can’t quite remember it verbatim) is from Evan Almighty. “Want to change the world? One random act of kindness is enough.”
    Or there’s this one: “Each smallest act of kindness reverberates across great distances, and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away.”

    • wow, those are great quotes… thanks for sharing them!

  2. That is very inspirational! I have honestly never heard of this story until now. Thanks for sharing, I will share this on our blog in the future!

    • glad you liked it! and i like your blog, too. thanks for stopping by!

  3. Goodness, are you TRYING to make me bawl?? It’s a very emotional time of month for me, and here you are telling sweet, sad, touching stories… That was very beautiful, Wendy. Thank you. 🙂 PS: We’ll have plenty of room for you and co. to sleep over. 🙂

    • you are funny. i was sure that everyone had heard this one. guess i was wrong!

  4. I stop and pick up worms in the road when I run, and I throw them into the grass. I feel a little silly, but I would feel worse if I ran past. I’d heard this poem before, but never made the connection. Thanks.

    • i swerve on the road as to avoid the wooly worms that come out every season. i also pick up worms and snails and carry them to safety. i know others think it’s silly but i don’t care!

  5. Great post! I love that story…it really is the small actions

    • thanks for visiting and commenting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: