Saving Starfish

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I heard a story once of an old man who, while walking down the beach, came a across a most curious sight. During an extraordinarily high tide the previous night thousands upon thousands of starfish had been washed up onto the beach. With no way of re-entering the water these starfish were doomed to a certain death as they dried out under the blazing sun.

As the old man continued his walk, he came across a little girl who was picking the starfish up one-by-one and throwing them as far into the sea as her little arms could manage. Amused by this sight the old man asked, “Little girl, what are you doing?” Looking up at the old man she replied, “Saving these starfish!”

“Surely it is futile exercise,” observed the old man, “there are thousands of them washed up onto the beach. What possible difference can you make?” Without saying a word the young girl picked up another starfish and, summoning all her strength, threw it as far as she could into the blue ocean. Having done so she turned to the old man and said, “I made a difference to that one…”


Life is filled with “washed up starfish” experiences. There is just so much to be done that it seems impossible to make a difference. To make matters worse, there are so many voices out there saying “why bother – what possible difference can you make?” Yet like the little girl, we need to persevere. We cannot allow cynical voices to deter us from doing what we know to be right – even if it seems like an impossible mission.

This same mentality applies to our efforts to going green. There is so much that could and should be done that at times we feel it a hopeless cause. But it is not… Every effort we make whether great or small, whether kitting out our entire house out with solar powered energy or simply replacing those old incandescent light bulbs with energy saving CFL or LED lights, makes a difference. And the more you and I do the more we will want to do and soon others will see the changes we are making and will want to do likewise.

Let’s not lose hope. Let’s go out and “make a difference to that one…”

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