The Starfish Effect

One of my favorite stories of all time is that of a person walking along a beach after a big storm. As they walk they stop and pick up starfish that had been washed ashore and toss them back into the ocean. Another person comes along and says, “Why are you even bothering to do that? There’s so many that you’ll never make a difference.” The first person bends down, picks up another one, tosses it to safety and says simply, “It made a difference to that one.”

This story has so profoundly shaped how I live my life. I can’t remember where or when I first heard this story or even who told it to me but the impact is no less felt. To me, what this story tells us so simply is to do what you can. No one can save the entire world. No one can save every homeless animal out there nor can they stop all the cruelty in the world. What we can do, however, is make small differences in the world. We can choose to adopt a pet rather than buy one. We can volunteer our time to help a shelter or animal welfare organization. We can donate what we can afford to charities that support causes we care about. We can teach the world’s children that animals need to be treated with respect. If we can’t afford anything else, we can still help spread the message and reach people who have the means but might not have even known there was a cause needing support. The important thing to remember here is that you should never feel like you can’t give enough therefore there’s no point in even trying. Anything that you give will make a difference and if everyone in the world would just do one tiny thing to help animals then the change would be tremendous! And the world may not ever be perfect, but the difference we make will be felt by each and every individual animal that we save. And isn’t that worth trying for?

The Starfish Effect: it’s a very powerful concept.


We believe in this idea so much that we’re making it our philosophy and it will have its own page. Do you have any stories that relate to The Starfish Effect? Any story about how you or someone you know has done something that might have seemed so small and yet the end result was so profound? Share the story with us! We can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

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3 Responses to “The Starfish Effect”

  1. […] motivated to help great people like those at The Funny Farm. Our philosophy here at ILRA is “The Starfish Effect“: every ONE counts. That being the case, just look at how incredible what the Farm has done […]

  2. […] and that that idea permeates a lot of our philosophy – one life DOES make a difference, The Starfish Effect – but there are so many disenchanted people out there who, despite loving animals dearly, […]

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