The Starfish Dilemma
As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves. – Mahatma Gandhi
So many people despair of what is happening in/with/to the World/Earth.
And with good reason. There is cause to be concerned about climate change and water-scarcity and human rights and in-equality.
It would seem, though, that the greater our access to information/news, the more we worry about our impact and our responsibilities.
This is healthy (if we take constructive action… ), but given the enormity of the problems we often become overwhelmed and, ultimately, become discouraged (and do little… ).
This reminds of the story of the child on the beach who is returning starfish to the water after a strong tide has left them on the sand (with no way to return to the water which they so desperately need).
In this tale an old man comes along and asks “Why are you bothering with these starfish? There’s so many you can’t possibly help them all before they die? The task is so vast how can you think it matters?”
To which the child replies: “It matters to the ones that make it back.”
The same applies to each of us and how we conduct ourselves on this Earth, in this life.
The better we get, the more we can do. The more we can do, the more gets done. And, whatever we actually do, matters.
Whatever we can do matters to those we impact.
Whether it’s raising healthy, happy and empowered children or treading lightly and conserving resources whenever possible or doing something to heal the World and its inhabitants, any positive actions we take – no matter how small they may seem – matter.