A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach
at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man
in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the
local native kept leaning down, picking something up, and
throwing it out into the water. Time and again, he kept
hurling something out into the ocean.
As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the
man was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach
and, one at a time, was throwing them back into the water.
Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said,
"Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing?"
"I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see,
it is low tide right now, and all of these starfish have
washed up onto the shore. If I don't throw them back into
the sea, they'll die from lack of oxygen."
"I understand," my friend replied, "but there must be
thousands of starfish on this beach! You can't possibly get
to all of them. There are simply too many! And don't you
realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches
all up and down this coast? Can't you see that you can't
possibly make a difference?"
The local native smiled, bent down, and picked up yet
another starfish and, as he threw it back into the sea,
replied, "Made a difference to THAT one!"