About The Web-Series & Film
The poet, Seamus Heaney wrote "Hope is not optimism, which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth working for". It is this idea that motivates us and has brought us to establish belongto.it and to produce our project "Buying America Back".
Every important social change (abolition, women's suffrage, the Civil Rights Movement, voting rights) that has taken place in our country has been the result of concerted citizen action. Our project, "Buying America Back" is being produced in that spirit. This is the type of change we are striving for.
We believe that "the crowd" has the power, when effectively expressed, to bring about change that is fundamental to a healthy democracy. We believe that we the people, when given the ability to effectively express our will can and will break the stranglehold that global corporations have on our politics and the rules that our society lives by. We believe that we the people, can "Buy America Back".
Maurice Bretzfield (bio) and Ben Miller (bio), two social entrepreneurs have already crossed much of our country to give voice to concerned citizens, corporate social responsibility professionals, sustainability experts and - you! Now we need more interviews with many more sustainability leaders on the East Coast.
We think that America is at a cross-roads. The people have lost faith in all of our major institutions, especially government and big business. Big Business is buying American democracy and we believe that we the people can buy it back.
Change begins with each of us!
More and more of us are looking to business to foster social change. There are businesses all over America, businesses led by visionary people who understand that a purely profit-driven motive is no longer sustainable. They are incorporating sustainability into their business lives and are committing to ensure that their companies are not only profitable but responsible for their environmental and societal impact as well. These are companies, many "B Corporations" that are leaders in a movement to be responsible for a triple bottom line that are led by people who understand that change begins with each of us.
Many consumers are going out of their way to choose positive-impact products and brands. The LOHAS (Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability) market now exceeds $200 billion. There are now nearly 600 certified B Corporations, corporations that commit to reporting not just profit but their impact on our environment and our society.
Corporate Social Responsibility has become mainstream to the point that every major corporation has a CSR component and reports annually on social responsibility.
These movements have the potential to Buy America Back and are the stories we want to collect across the country and bring to you.
We'll release single-interview Webisodes featuring concerned citizens, the leaders of Certified B Corporations, corporate social responsibility pro's and sustainability experts. People who will tell you, each in their own way, how they are "Buying America Back" and providing examples of what anyone of us can do. Then we'll produce a documentary length film that tells the story of how through individual action the people can "Buy America Back" from the oligarchy that is attempting to control our government and capture America as a personally owned asset.
We have already visited:
Las Vegas, NV:
Andrew Forsthoefel, Walking to Listen
We'll now travel the East Coast (and Washington, Oregon and California if we are so fortunate to raise enough money to do so) bringing you the stories of more entrepreneurs and people who are using their business to help create a just, fair and sustainable society - a society by and for the people.
Ben and Maurice met in August, 2011 at a MeetUp in New York City. Maurice had recently arrived back in New York after spending two year's helping his partner with her startup which is devoted to helping victims of domestic violence (www.thebusinessofme.com and www.nancysstory.com) become self sufficient. Ben was raising money for his startup non-profit and Maurice, an entrepreneur since the 70's, was there to offer his help as an advisor.
When we began exchanging ideas we realized that we shared the same vision and optimism about the possibilities of Internet empowerment and social entrepreneurship (when used together) to positively affect change at the broadest possible level.
Our startup belongto.it empowers consumers to read, post or write articles about business impact at a local level and to rate companies on their social impact. It provides companies the ability to respond to consumer concerns and proactively reach out to consumers with news and information about their socially responsible policies and initiatives.
"Buying America Back" will educate and inform consumers about the blossoming B-Corp movement and will give voice to social entrepreneurs trying to get their message out. It will inform consumers about the "benefit economy," a movement where business means change and change means business.
Informed, we the people have the power to make positive change.
What We Need & What You Get
So far we've financed this project out of our own pockets. Considering the scale of our project we've spent relatively little. We flew from New York to Las Vegas, where we began the longest (in miles) stretch of our cross-country road trip. We spent a little under $2000 assembling all of our gear, which includes the amazing Canon 5D Mark II HD DSLR camera, microphones, lighting and professional audio recording equipment. We have traveled spartanly, camping when we can but the road is an expensive place these days with gas at $4 gallon and with ever rising lodging, food prices and air fares. That's why we need the help of the crowd to complete this project.
You can see the first clips that we've already posted at www.belongto.it. There are many, many more to come.
As entrepreneurs we're accustomed to a lean operation but no amount of bootstrapping is going to get us to where we need to be - organizing more interviews and events, the travel expenses we'll incur to get to these sustainability leaders and the cost of editing and post-production.
We need your support. This project is about you, your children and your grandchildren. It will take a crowd to bring about the change we must have - that's why we're reaching out to the "crowd". This project is about the crowd and for the crowd and it will take a crowd to bring about the just and fair society that we must have. We believe that only through individual collective action can the change we all seek (well, at least 99% of us!) be brought about.
Why Support This Film
Because it's about you, for you, for ourselves and our posterity. It's about the 99% of us.
We wish to spark a conversation that brings awareness about how we can all support those that are taking the kind of action that will foster a sustainable, just society. After all, "It's your community, belongto.it"!