Throwing starfish back into the sea: Students make a splash with environmental blogging
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A year ago, McMaster students Kyle Empringham and Sujane Kandasamy co-founded
The Starfish, an environmental news
and blogging site which has since become a hub of activity boasting a growing fan base,
a dedicated team, and creative journalism.
The idea come about when Empringham entered the United Nations Environment
Development's blogging competition for World Environment Day 2010. Although he
didn't clinch the top prize, the winner of the contest was impressed by his entry and
encouraged him to pursue environmental blogging.
"With that push, I began to message friends, create a team, and bring to life the
that is now The Starfish," said Empringham.
The Starfish is based on a vision of sustainability, with its name inspired by Loren
Eisley's story The
In the story, a young boy sees a starfish on the beach, picks it up and throws it
into the ocean. An old man says to him: "Boy, what are you doing? There are hundreds
of starfish washed up on shore - there's no way you can make a difference!" But the boy
just throws another one back into the ocean and replies, "I made a difference to that
"The site is a combination of news and blogging, meant to inspire others to make a
difference," said Empringham. "We provide a wide range of stories and topics so that
there's something on our site for everyone."
Complete with thought-provoking headlines and compelling photographs, the site
covers topics such as biodiversity, conservation, health, lifestyle, technology/innovation,
and food and agriculture.
"We couldn't do it without our dedicated group of volunteers, many of whom are
McMaster," said Empringham. "We've got a passionate executive team and an awesome
bunch of writers who take the time to provide educational and insightful information to
Empringham is currently working for the Bay Area Restoration Council and the City
Hamilton, speaking publicly about why and how individuals can make a difference in the
This fall, he will begin his graduate studies at Simon Fraser University's School of
Resource and Environmental Management.
"I'm hoping to start up a BC chapter of The Starfish, which will attract writers from
west to bring a different perspective to the site. We want to get bigger and grow as
much as we can," he said.
While Empringham is in BC, Kandasamy will stay at McMaster where she will work
with contributors in Hamilton to continue to build The Starfish and help promote its
vision of a sustainable future.
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