Insight article

Making a Difference

A young boy was walking a beach after a tropical storm. Driftwood and rubbish were everywhere, but also hundreds of starfish that had been washed up on the sand. The sun was starting to come up over the horizon, and as the boy skipped along, he bent down occasionally to toss a starfish back into the sea.

Another and yet another starfish was returned to its watery world, and as the boy continued his journey along the beach, a tourist walking from the opposite direction stopped to watch him with curiosity. He shrugged, continued walking, and then stopped again. He turned back towards the boy.

“Why are you throwing those starfish back into the sea?” he asked. The boy looked at him, somewhat surprised.

“The sun’s coming up. If these starfish don’t go back into the sea, they’ll shrivel up and die in the heat.”

“But there are hundreds of starfish on this beach,” said the tourist. “And thousands of starfish all over the world being washed up on beaches like this. You are wasting your time – you can’t possibly make a difference!”

The boy looked at him, unfazed. He bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the waves.

“I made a difference to that one,” he said.

Nailia Tasseel