Early one morning, while walking along the ocean shore, a man came across a stretch of beach covered with hundreds of starfish. Also on the beach was a young woman.
The man watched as she picked up the starfish one at a time and put them gently back into the waves.
“What are you doing?” the man asked.
The woman explained, “The tide has washed the starfish on the beach, and they cannot return to the sea by themselves. They are in danger of dying from the relentless sun beating down.”
The man gazed in wonder as she again and again threw starfish from the sand into the water. At last he spoke, and said, “There are too many! How do you think that what you are doing can possibly make a difference?”
Once again, the woman bent down and picked up another starfish. As the starfish was released into the cool safety of the water, she simply replied, “It made a difference to that one.”