This is one of my favorite stories — when I get overwhelmed with the state of the world and what I can do, I think of this story.
There was a huge storm along the coast in an ecologically sensitive area. Scientists and researchers walked along the beach, assessing the damage. The beach was covered with thousands of starfish and other marine animals, dead or dying in the sun. As they rounded a curve they saw a little girl picking up starfish, one by one, and throwing them back into the ocean. One of the researchers said, “Why are you doing that? This is an ecological disaster, and what you are doing won’t begin to make a difference.”
The little girl looked at him for a moment, then picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. She answered, “It makes a difference to that one.”
P.S. This was the story the way I heard it, but it is taken from an essay by Loren Eisely, “The Star Thrower.” Thank you, Lorena!