After many years of community outreach, we have realized that people protect what they love. our mission is to help you fall in love with the ocean and seek feasible ways to protect it.
Inspired by Sylvia Earle and the Mission Blue Alliance, this project will work to inspire hope for our world's oceans and provide resources to aid others in reducing their own impact on our environment. At this very moment, 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are estimated to be floating on the surface of our oceans. According to decades worth of research, we have already lost 27% of our coral reefs, and at this rate we’re bound to lose 60% of our coral reefs within the next 30 years. And without a place to hunt and call home, about 90% of the ocean’s large predatory fish are completely gone. But with all this known devastation and loss, less than 2% of the world's oceans are actually protected...
Operation Umi's mission is to provide people with the tools they need to transition their wasteful single-use lifestyle to a more sustainable one by directing them to and highlighting as many businesses, brands, companies and NGO's as possible that align with our mission and showcase the beauty of our world’s oceans. All of our little everyday choices count. So why not make choices that will help to protect our planet not only for us, but for the many generations to come?
MEET THE FOUNDERS
arisa, Executive and content director
First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to check out our thoughts and imagery. A recent graduate from the University of NC at Wilmington, I try to not let this title define me. I believe I am not only a student, but a conservationist, traveler, storyteller, filmmaker, photojournalist, amongst many other titles.
It was my early exposure to scuba diving at age fifteen that sparked my interest in the sea. When I turned eighteen I was then given the unique opportunity to live aboard a 40-foot catamaran in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean sailing, diving, and using the ocean as my living classroom. Living off-grid and so close to nature was the closest I had ever felt to home. Since then, I have dedicated my life to the preservation and conservation of our worlds oceans. This has led me all over the world researching plastic pollution on atolls of Belize, showcasing films on the East Coast of the United States, and teaching marine science in the Caribbean. My world is inspired by the life that sustains us, and I hope yours will to.
Thanks for stopping by and let's change the world together!
Alexa, Marketing & Outreach Director
Born and raised in New York City, I fell in love with the ocean completely by accident. My dad can't swim and my mom starts to panic the second she puts a mask and snorkel on her face– needless to say my love for the ocean was not in my blood. So on family vacation as a kid, my parents suggested I get my Junior Open Water diving certification because "it would be a cool thing to show off" around school and it would distract me from nagging them during their moments of rest and relaxation. However, the second I took my first breath from a regulator and swam amongst the fish– I was hooked. The sensation of simultaneous fear, peace, fascination, and excitement pulled me toward the water like gravity. Somehow, the ocean grounded me.
Fast forward 10 years and I am now an Open Water Scuba Instructor and have gone diving all over the world. I have seen the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Blue Hole in Belize, the cenotés of Mexico and even swam side by side sea lions in Baja, California. After graduating from Colgate University in May 2017, my first job was as a diving instructor for Broadreach Inc. That summer, I sailed from St. Lucia to Grenada and back teaching young teenagers how to dive and the importance of our world's oceans. From that moment on, I knew that in whatever profession I found myself in, my love for the ocean had to be intertwined. For most of my life, the ocean has been a second home to me. It has become a place of solace and solitude in times of need. So I have made it my mission to protect and preserve my home not only for myself, but for my children, my children's children, and the many children to come.
Let's work together to create a community of mindful consumers who are curious about how their everyday choices impact our environment.
willow, creative and design director
Growing up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the ocean has always been a prevalent role in my life. Whether it be boating to a little strip of sand we called "Banana Island" or gathering all the families for a Sunday beach trip, I was incredibly fortunate to be raised seaside. I learned how to surf when I was nine, sparking a passion inside of me that would stick for the rest of my life. Between volunteering with the Surfrider Foundation, working as a surf instructor, and being apart of the Surf Club at UNCW, i have shaped my life around the sea. As an artist and musician, i find my biggest inspiration through water and nature. Its influence has driven me to protect and preserve what we have today for the sake of generations to come tomorrow.