Last Sunday on the beach I see a father walking out of the Ocean with a Starfish. He is showing the Starfish to his children and some tourists walking on the Beach. A Starfish (originally called Seastar) is an amazing sea animal and very cute? Luckily after a little while, he places the Starfish back into the ocean. From a distance I am seeing this happening and debating with myself if I should say something? It is a peaceful Sunday and maybe I should let it go. But it is not the first time I see this happening. A few months ago I saw a little girl showing off 3 starfishes on her float, as if they were stuffed animals. So I become silent for a moment and decide that saying something feels better in my body. So I take a deep breath and approach the father. In the meantime his children go back in the ocean with their goggles. The father, a friendly gentleman from North Carolina, is amazed about finding the Starfish. I kindly tell him that we, in Aruba, teach our children not to take Starfish out of the Ocean as it is harmful for the Starfish and that it is good for the children to learn why starfish should be kept in their natural habitat. He nods in understanding and I ask him if they are enjoying their time in Aruba. Yes, he says, we really have a great time here. Meanwhile the children spotted the Starfish again and they call their Dad. So I wish him a great vacation and as I walk away I can just hear him say to his children don’t pick it up again. I don’t know but I felt like it was worth it to make that connection. It made a difference.
From research I learned that there are many species of Starfish. As we do not know which starfish can stay what amount of time out of water, is it best not to take it out of the Ocean. Our ocean is crystal clear and you can admire the Starfish without taking it out of the water. It is so much more peaceful for the animal. For more information, there is an interesting discussion about this online, please click here.
The well-known Starfish story is about making a difference, one starfish at a time. I was happy to make a difference creating awareness in this family about animals in their natural habitat. Moreover I hope my story empowers you to speak up whenever you can to safe our nature.