One Person can make a Difference

The Star Thrower

A scientist was walking on the beach.  In the distance, he noticed a young man apparently dancing.  As he got closer, he realized the man was not dancing.  Instead, he was reaching down to pick up starfish and then throwing them into the sea.  “Why are you doing that?” he asked. “Because”, the young man answered, “if I don’t, they will die as the tide goes out.” “But there are hundreds of miles of beach and millions of starfish,” said the scientist.  “What difference can you make?”  The young man picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean, saying, “I can make a difference to that one.” Unsettled by the experience, yet now knowing the power of one person and one action, the next morning the scientist went to the beach and with the young man threw starfish into the ocean, thinking:  “I made a difference to that one.”

Essay by Loren C. Eiseley