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The Starfish

When expressing how and why radon advocates/activists can change the world, the starfish story comes to mind, hence the photo cover. Advocates and activists for radon reduction never give up and they inspire others to become advocates.

There was once a old writer who used to visit the ocean beach and walk along each morning before engaging in his daily work of writing. One morning while he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed, he saw a vast amount of starfish littering the beach as far as he could see.

Make a Difference

In a distance, he notices a small boy walking and pausing every so often, bending down, and throwing something into the sea. As he came closer to the boy, he called out, “May I ask what you are doing?” The young boy paused, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the ocean.”

The old writer said “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The young boy simply bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it far into the ocean. He then turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

The next morning the young boy noticed that the old writer was once again by his side, but this time he was helping by bending down, picking up a starfish, and throwing it into the sea, helping him make a difference one starfish at a time.

Adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)