One day, a man was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a young person reaching down to the sand, picking up something and very gently throwing it back into the sea. As he got closer, he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”
The young person paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the sea.”
“Why are you throwing starfish into the sea?” he asked.
“The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
“But, don’t you realize that there are miles of beach here and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young person listened politely. Then knelt down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said…
“Made a difference to this one.”
This story is from Loren Eiseley’s book, The Star Thrower.