Press Release

National Geographic Explorer’s ‘Unplastify Worldwide’ Program Opens for Registration in Spanish-Speaking Classrooms

Educators are now able to register their students for The Unplastify Education Worldwide Program – a free educational program empowering students aged 15-16 to fight plastic pollution while becoming changemakers in their communities. Photo by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel

Washington, DC (February 26, 2024) – Inspiring teenagers to be the protagonists of their own education is at the heart of National Geographic Explorer Agustina “Tati” Besada’s expanding Unplastify Education Worldwide Program. The three-month educational program, which works with students to innovate and implement their own solutions to the issue of plastic pollution, is opening registration for its ninth edition to Spanish-speaking classrooms through March 15, 2024.

“Unplastify,” a term coined by National Geographic Explorer and Founder of Unplastify Worldwide, Agustina “Tati'' Besada, is a progressive action to minimize the use of disposable plastics systemically by changing norms and behaviors – the root causes of pollution. To date, the program has reached more than 23 countries and more than 158 educational institutions, empowering the next generation of leaders in sustainability.

“At its core we are looking to change how human beings interact with plastic,” said Unplastify Founder, Tati Besada, “These students are at the forefront of the next generation of leaders. Our program aims to inform and then inspire these young leaders to innovate and then actually implement new ways to minimize that interaction. We’re particularly excited about the amazing ideas that come out of their projects, which is why the program has a contest format as well with scores and a finale event with schools worldwide where an expert jury will choose the top project. This extra aspect of interaction not just with their classmates, but with communities in countries all over, will open new doors for students to unplastify across borders.”

Over the next three years, Unplastify Worldwide aims to reach more than 2,500 new young people and 250 educators directly to build awareness and develop solutions to the impact of plastics in our ocean — ultimately seeking to reduce plastic use by three tons.

Students, aged 15-16 will utilize project-based learning, through regular lesson plans and contact with the Unplastify team, to investigate the key causes behind plastic pollution, both globally and in their unique local context. Their final goal, to implement targeted solutions to activate their peers and create lasting change ultimately reducing plastic waste and protecting their environment.

“There are two things that motivate youth, action and competition — Unplastify covers both of them,” said Carlos Chiu, teacher and Unplastify Challenge mentor at Colegio de Ciencias in Perú, “The challenge involves action because they have to propose a solution to a problem and work towards the goal, and also they are curious what the other teams are doing. Even when they may fail in the intent, they enjoy the challenge and without knowing they learn about teamwork, responsibility, schedule and deadlines among other things, and at the end, this learning is the most important asset they take with them.”

The Spanish-edition of Unplastify Worldwide will run from April to June, culminating in the Unplastify Festival and The Grand Final to take place in Mexico City in July, where the top projects will compete for first prize and the chance to scale their solutions in their communities. Students who complete the program will have the opportunity to attend these events either in-person or virtually, to present their projects and forge links with other Unplastify students around the world working toward a common goal.

Teachers and school administrators interested in participating in the Unplastify Worldwide Spanish-language program can register their classrooms for the challenge until March 15, 2024. A translated version of the program, to be offered in English, will open for registration in the fall of 2024.

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About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.