[image description: A tan, winged creature with large black eyes is frowning. She is made of paper bags and her hair, compost and trash. Text reads, “219, RHEA ~ small god of recycling”]
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Rhea believes, truly and completely, that there’s no reason to throw anything away. Everything can be recycled, reclaimed, turned into something new: a plastic bag can become a tire, a tire can become a road, a delicious dinner can become a compost heap can become a whole new garden. Zero waste may or may not be something that can be accomplished, but she’s willing to give it the old divinity try, and with the powers of the universe behind her, she might well be able to get there.
If more people followed her, we would waste less. We would save more. We might make a better world for ourselves.
Sadly, her message, while a good one, is too easily twisted and misrepresented by people who want to turn it into a form of piousness, who want to claim that recycling, as an act of personal responsibility, can absolve them from the need to do things on a larger level. They paint pretty lies in the language of sustainability, claiming that all things can be recycled so perfectly that they heal the world. They say paper can always be remade, and say nothing of harsh chemicals needed to ease the process along. They say all plastics can be reclaimed, and say nothing of the complications or the risks.
Rhea is looking forward to the day when she can recycle them, body and soul, into something of more use. Or perhaps she’ll pass them to her sisters, for their own purposes. Sharing is the one thing they all keep in common, after all, and she loves to share.
Next time you have a can or a bottle in your hand, think of Rhea. Find the nearest recycling bin. She, and the world, will thank you.
So will your children, and tomorrow.
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Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world: