Join millions worldwide Saturday, mateys, to overcome ocean trash and have a little fun

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Even landlubbers far from the sea can help in the International Coastal Cleanup and Ocean Trash Write-away Short Fiction Contest for writers, environmentalists, pirates and nature lovers, September 19. Five organizations join forces to cleanup trash today and envision a world with unpolluted oceans tomorrow.

On September 19, millions of people will vie to best last year’s record 16 million pounds of trash collected for International Coastal Cleanup Day. For fun, some volunteers may sport pirate hats and pepper their conversation with “Aye, mateys!” since Saturday is also Talk-Like-A-Pirate (TLAP) Day. And this year, even landlubbers far from sea can get in on the action; young writers are being asked to dream beyond a one-day cleanup to a permanent solution to restoring Earth’s oceans. The short fiction contest is called the "Ocean Trash Write-away."

The problem of ocean pollution is massive. Since plastic was invented in 1907, almost a quarter million tons of it has made its way into the ocean. Plastic breaks into smaller and smaller bits until it is dust, but the chemical structure does not break down. It remains in our oceans forever. And plastic is just one pollutant. Marine life and bottom of the food chain suffers dramatically from pollution.

But technology has made great strides and people can take action. So, in a rare joint effort, four organizations -- Sapiens Plurum, Arizona State University’s Center for Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI), the Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day founders and Apex Book Company -- joined forces with The Ocean Conservancy to confront the problem. The International Coastal Cleanup, sponsored by The Ocean Conservancy, inspires millions of volunteers the world over, each year, to remove and record trash. By adding the Ocean Trash Write-Away Short Fiction Contest, advocacy group Sapiens Plurum, Apex Book Company (sci fi publisher) and TLAP Day Founders hope to encourage the rising generation to turn from dystopic tales and passive pessimism. They challenge young people and their teachers, around the globe, to create heroes who combat the systems that pour ocean trash into every major sea on Earth. And, for fun, characters may occasionally talk like pirates. For, as Ol Chumbucket of TLAP says, "A pirate won't want to sail the seven seas if they're covered in trash!"            

The Ocean Trash Write-Away Short Fiction Contest seeks 1500-3000 word entries, in English, from writers ages 25 and under. First prize will be a 4-day trip to CSI, at the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, AZ. The winner and their guest will meet with CSI researchers and leadership, visit labs and other environments at Arizona State University aligned with their intellectual and professional interests, and consult with top scholars and researchers. Other prizes include $500 in cash, t-shirts and certificates. Contest details may be found at

Sapiens Plurum is a future-thinking non-profit whose mission is to “keep humans in the driver’s seat when cars drive themselves.” Sapiens Plurum News puts tech in perspective. Learn more about Sapiens Plurum and Sapiens Plurum News at

CSI is a hub for optimistic, technically-grounded thinking, collaboration and storytelling. CSI engages in research, outreach and radical collaborations to reinvent our relationship with the future. Learn more about the center at

Ocean Conservancy educates and empowers citizens to take action on behalf of the ocean, with projects such as The International Coastal Cleanup. To join the Cleanup or learn more about the Ocean Conservancy, see    

TLAP Day is the concoction of John Bauer (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mike Summers, who one day decided that what the world really needed was a new international holiday, “Talk Like A Pirate Day.” For more information, see

Apex Book Company publications have earned the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Stoker Award, and World Fantasy Award, among others. In 2014, The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 3, was selected as one of NPR's top 40 books of the year. For more information, see #####

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Jeanne Dietsch
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