Inventors that failed at first


These inventors changed the face of the modern world, but not without a few failed prototypes along the way.

  1. Thomas Edison: In his early years, teachers told Edison he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that worked.
  2. Orville and Wilbur Wright: These brothers battled depression and family illness before starting the bicycle shop that would lead them to experimenting with flight. After numerous attempts at creating flying machines, several years of hard work, and tons of failed prototypes, the brothers finally created a plane that could get airborne and stay there.

Business Gurus that failed at first

Business Gurus

These businessmen and the companies they founded are today known around the world, but as these stories show, their beginnings weren’t always smooth.

  1. Henry Ford: While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five time before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.
  2. R. H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large department store chain, but Macy didn’t always have it easy. Macy started seven failed business before finally hitting big with his store in New York City.
  3. F. W. Woolworth: Some may not know this name today, but Woolworth was once one of the biggest names in department stores in the U.S. Before starting his own business, young Woolworth worked at a dry goods store and was not allowed to wait on customers because his boss said he lacked the sense needed to do so.
  4. Soichiro Honda: The billion-dollar business that is Honda began with a series of failures and fortunate turns of luck. Honda was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business.
  5. Akio Morita: You may not have heard of Morita but you’ve undoubtedly heard of his company, Sony. Sony’s first product was a rice cooker that unfortunately didn’t cook rice so much as burn it, selling less than 100 units. This first setback didn’t stop Morita and his partners as they pushed forward to create a multi-billion dollar company.
  6. Bill Gates: Gates didn’t seem like a shoe-in for success after dropping out of Harvard and starting a failed first business with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen called Traf-O-Data. While this early idea didn’t work, Gates’ later work did, creating the global empire that is Microsoft.
  7. Harland David Sanders: Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.
  8. Walt Disney: Today Disney rakes in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world, but Walt Disney himself had a bit of a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.

Public Figures that failed at first

Public Figures

From politicians to talk show hosts, these figures had a few failures before they came out on top.

  1. Winston Churchill: This Nobel Prize-winning, twice-elected Prime Minster of the United Kingdom wasn’t always as well regarded as he is today. Churchill struggled in school and failed the sixth grade. After school he faced many years of political failures, as he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the ripe old age of 62.
  2. Abraham Lincoln: While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our nation, Lincoln’s life wasn’t so easy. In his youth he went to war a captain and returned a private (if you’re not familiar with military ranks, just know that private is as low as it goes.) Lincoln didn’t stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed business and was defeated in numerous runs he made for public office.
  3. Oprah Winfrey: Most people know Oprah as one of the most iconic faces on TV as well as one of the richest and most successful women in the world. Oprah faced a hard road to get to that position, however, enduring a rough and often abusive childhood as well as numerous career setbacks including being fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for tv.”
  4. Harry S. Truman: This WWI vet, Senator, Vice President and eventual President eventually found success in his life, but not without a few missteps along the way. Truman started a store that sold silk shirts and other clothing–seemingly a success at first–only go bankrupt a few years later.
  5. Dick Cheney: This recent Vice President and businessman made his way to the White House but managed to flunk out of Yale University, not once, but twice. Former President George W. Bush joked with Cheney about this fact, stating, “So now we know –if you graduate from Yale, you become president. If you drop out, you get to be vice president.”

The Zayger 3D Watches #Kickstarter Press Release – #Watches #jewlery #crowdfunding

Contact: Kinship Marketing

Watch maker Shlomo Mockin Launches Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign for 3D watch company, Zayger Watches.

The goal is to raise $40,000 for the production of a new type of watch that will be a combination of 3D Printing and traditional manufacturing.

Brooklyn, NY — Shlomo Mockin has launched a crowdfunding campaign on, in hope of raising a total of $40,000 to help cover the costs associated with the production of a new type of 3D watch.

“Zayger will create watches combining modern manufacturing methods such as 3D printing and laser cutting with old school hand finishing and polishing techniques. Hand engraving, hand painting and enameling will be the finishing touches to make beautiful, stylish and unique timepieces that will stand out, without straying too far from the “classic” watch look.”

Supporters are invited to make a contribution ranging from $1 to $3,250.

Donors won’t walk away empty-handed. Contributors will receive a thank you gift, ranging from a thank you to an 18k, Leather Zayger watch.

To make a contribution or to learn more about Zayger Watches, visit



Athletes that failed at first –


While some athletes rocket to fame, others endure a path fraught with a little more adversity, like those listed here.

  1. Michael Jordan: Most people wouldn’t believe that a man often lauded as the best basketball player of all time was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Luckily, Jordan didn’t let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
  2. Stan Smith: This tennis player was rejected from even being a lowly ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy and uncoordinated. Smith went on to prove them wrong, showcasing his not-so-clumsy skills by winning Wimbledon, U. S. Open and eight Davis Cups.
  3. Babe Ruth: You probably know Babe Ruth because of his home run record (714 during his career), but along with all those home runs came a pretty hefty amount of strikeouts as well (1,330 in all). In fact, for decades he held the record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
  4. Tom Landry: As the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Landry brought the team two Super Bowl victories, five NFC Championship victories and holds the records for the record for the most career wins. He also has the distinction of having one of the worst first seasons on record (winning no games) and winning five or fewer over the next four seasons.

The Atalantic- The Death of Retail

The Death of Retail: The Economics of the (Doomed) Office Depot/OfficeMax Merger

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Office Depot has reportedly agreed to buy OfficeMax to form a super-office-retailing juggernaut that … well, is still 25 percent smaller than Staples and is probably doomed, anyway.

For those of us on the end of retail beat, like Matt Yglesias and myself, the news might be a surprise but the story’s shape is familiar. For the last two decades, Walmart and e-commerce, led by Amazon, have eaten retail with a blend of supply-chain mastery, digital savvy, and ginormous scale.

Long story short: For most of the 20th century, retail work grew in line with the population. Below is a look at retail employment as a share of the labor force since 1950. What you’re looking at is the perfect “cyclical” industry. When the economy shrank (gray bars), retail pulled back. When the economy grew (white columns), retail charged ahead. Then something happened in the 1990s … retail seemed to get a case of the productivity bug. It’s not like Americans suddenly decided to stop buying computers and clothes and toilet paper in 2000. We just bought more of those things at labor-saving supercenters like Walmart — or super-labor-super-savings-supercenters like Retail became more productive, which means they could sell more with less costs — those costs being people and stores.

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Cool news for consumers. Bad news for an industry that employs one out of ten American workers.

Still, retail is too big and varied to die in unison. Our “end of retail” story won’t sell as well at clothing accessory stores, where employment is up more than 50 percent since 2001. People still like touching the clothes they wear (even if young shoppers are more comfortable than their parents ordering shirts in boxes for home delivery).

But office and supply stores aren’t so lucky. Not only are their shelves being replaced by digital shelves, but also their products — paper and office supplies — are being replaced by digital products. A real double-whammy. The few retail categories more doomed than office stores are music stores, camera stores, computer stores, book stores … essentially, the guys who are really and truly hosed. [This data shared exclusively with The Atlantic by our friends from EMSI]

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Today Is Bradley Manning’s 1,000th Day Without a Trial

Today Is Bradley Manning’s 1,000th Day Without a Trial

FEB 23 2013

What the treatment of the WikiLeaks detainee says about our government’s most damning secret


Jose Luis Magana/Reuters

Saturday, February 23, marks Bradley Manning’s 1,000th day in prison without a trial. In 2010, he was arrested for allegedly passing a trove of diplomatic cables and military reports to WikiLeaks, a nonprofit sunshine organization that publishes state secrets. Manning has been charged with everything from bringing discredit upon the armed forces to “aiding the enemy.” Much of his first year of confinement was spent in humiliating suicide watch and Prevention of Injury conditions.

The actions of Bradley Manning offer a moment to reflect on the meaning of secrecy in the information age. Regardless of one’s opinion of the young private (traitor or hero, disturbed or determined, ideological or idiotic), he put the entire secrecy apparatus to the test. Manning downloaded a perfect geologic slice of what we don’t know, and presented that information to the world. He took the catastrophic loss of “secret” information out of the theoretical and into the real world. He initiated the government secrecy industry’s worst-case scenario.

What is perhaps most astonishing is that the U.S. government had no substantive contingency plans or response mechanisms in place for such an event, aside from a shameful mistreatment of a harmless, if unwell, twenty-three year old. And though Manning’s actions have proven to be a black swan event, when one considers that 2.4 million people have access to sensitive material, coupled with the decisive societal shift away from privacy and toward openness and “oversharing,” it’s astonishing that we’re not seeing Manning-like incidents every day. Bradley Manning is also the true — and admirable — ideological case. He wasn’t cashing in. He wasn’t attempting to overthrow the Republic. He wasn’t blackmailed. He had no firsthand knowledge of torture. He wasn’t an agent for foreign intelligence. Instead, he released the information for the cause of openness itself.

It seems clear that what everyone expected to find in the diplomatic cables were unspeakable horrors committed by the tentacles of the U.S. government. It is therefore interesting that instead, most of what came to light was fairly laudable — a State Department that actually tries to do what it says it will do. Insofar as there were surprises, they typically came in the form missing puzzle pieces and instances of “I knew it!” A clear-eyed reading of much of the classified material suggests a more accountable government than WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange — or anyone, really — ever imagined.

A more pressing problem revealed by the cable leak, and certainly a more long-term problem, is the banality and stupidity of the overwhelming majority of government secrets. The edifice of the American deep state is crumbling, and this is in large part because of a rampant, unchecked, and sometimes nefarious habit of over-classification. With too many secrets come too many persons requiring access. That is how an evidently troubled Army private at a forward operating base lacking even the slightest defensible pretense of “need to know” gained access to the entirety of the State Department’s secret files.

What the U.S. government needs to accept with due diligence is that it is only going to get easier for others to do what Bradley Manning did. Instead of circling the wagons and imposing draconian punishments on people like Manning, and attempting to find ways to hermetically seal inane and ersatz secrets, the government should instead work to declassify as much material as it possibly can as quickly as it can. The state would have far greater success keeping under wraps a few necessary secrets — continuity of government plans, the movements of nuclear weapons, the security of the president of the United States — than it does with the present landfill of frivolity that currently passes for “state secrets.”

How blind is the entrenched government secrecy apparatus to this problem? Consider that in the aftermath of the cable release, the U.S. government instructed its employees to continue treating the cables as secret, and to never access them. It would be a cliche to say the executive branch instructed its functionaries to stick their heads in the sand, but that’s exactly what they did. Even worse, it means that the foreign officials whom our representatives are interacting with definitively know more about the ongoing actions of the American government than do the members of the American government.

A final point, this one on the government’s charge against Manning of “aiding the enemy.” Shortly after the New York Times published the first round of leaked cables, Robert Gates offered an honest appraisal of the situation to the press. There are few men alive today who know the secrets that Gates knows; he was Secretary of Defense then, during a time of war, and before that a Director of Central Intelligence. His opinion is therefore quite worthy of deep consideration. Gates pointedly questioned the alarmists in Washington at the time. He said:

Let me just offer some perspective as somebody who’s been at this a long time. Every other government in the world knows the United States government leaks like a sieve, and it has for a long time. And I dragged this up the other day when I was looking at some of these prospective releases. And this is a quote from John Adams: “How can a government go on, publishing all of their negotiations with foreign nations, I know not. To me, it appears as dangerous and pernicious as it is novel.”

When we went to real congressional oversight of intelligence in the mid-70s, there was a broad view that no other foreign intelligence service would ever share information with us again if we were going to share it all with the Congress. Those fears all proved unfounded.

Now, I’ve heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think — I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought. The fact is: governments deal with the United States because it’s in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets.

Many governments — some governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation. So other nations will continue to deal with us. They will continue to work with us. We will continue to share sensitive information with one another. Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.

Fairly modest. In the years that followed the actions of Bradley Manning, it’s hard to peg exactly what horrors have befallen the U.S. government aside from the Gates-prophesied embarrassment. The meandering war in Afghanistan certainly didn’t need Manning’s help to get that way. If he “aided the enemy,” perhaps someone should tell that to the enemy. For all that Bradley Manning revealed, he didn’t really reveal much. But by its shameful non-application of justice in Manning’s prosecution — 1,000 days in chains for a nonviolent offense, without the dignity of a trial by jury — the U.S. government has itself revealed the most terrible truth imaginable.

ProsPosition-Cracking the Code of the Golf Swing


ProsPosition-Cracking the Code of the Golf Swing


By using the Pros Position you don’t just fix your drives, or approach shots, or your irons and fairway shots,…you fix them all.

The ProsPosition: Cracking the Code of the Golf Swing

The Greatest Challenge Most Golfers Face:

  • Slicing – Insufficient hip turn
  • Pull Hooking – Improper backswing angle
  • Inconsistent Ball Contact – “Fly Away” arms
  • Hitting the Ground – Improper swing path

ANY ONE of these will cause a mis-hit, and you can get rid of all four IMMEDIATELY.

Check Out This Video to See What We Mean:

What Professional Golfers Do, That Most of us Don’t:

Every golfer has a unique swing that looks different through their swing. Even the pros. However, at the moment the club-face touches the ball, every professional and every excellent golfer looks almost identical. Take a look at any major golf publication that has a frame by frame breakdown of a pro golfer’s swing. Each issue highlights a different professional golfer. If you compare these breakdowns they will show you that some take the club back flat and some on a steep angle. Some follow through all the way, and some stop early. But at impact, the only point in the swing that truly matters, they all have their hips turned about 45 degrees to the target line and the elbow of their lower hand close to their hip as they strike the ball. That is the professional position at impact.

So What IS the ProsPosition?

The ProsPosition is a patented golf solution designed to suit any golfer. This lightweight tool fits discretely in your pocket until you’re ready to swing. At that point, you simply clip it onto your belt, swing away and let the Pros Position notify you when you’re making an error.

The ProsPosition training aid is the only training aid in the world which lets you feel what the pros feel on every full swing. When you’re swinging the golf club like a pro, you won’t even know it is attached. But when you swing like a beginner, you’ll knock your elbow into it and close the paddle against your hip. It is the simplest, most effective teaching aid you will ever use.

What’s the Story Behind the ProsPosition?

The Pros Position is a product that was born out of a lesson with a friend and former pro. During the lesson he pointed to a Golf magazine’s photo break-downs of various professional golfers. His observation was that although they all look different at the top of the back swing and after follow through, they are identical at the point of impact. This is the only point of the swing which truly matters. The challenge was how to achieve this through a device that could provide immediate feedback without being ponderously awkward. I developed this with an engineer, who sent the designs to the Robert Byrd Institute in WV. After several years and many variations we came up with the current, highly efficient, and functional design.

We have a web site developed, manufacturing operations with prototype completed, and marketing channels established. I have also worked on a different golf product in 2006 and learned an enormous amount about how to properly market such a device. Once we have completed all R&D on the final design we will begin producing a small amount of inventory (1,000 units) and roll out the marketing campaign. Once the initial inventory is 75% sold we will obtain consumer feedback, make any modifications (if necessary) and immediately increase inventory to 5,000 units. We will likewise increase marketing channels to include retail opportunities.

Why Will Golfers LOVE the ProsPosition?

(Other than because of our tagline, “When It’s Pros…It’s Poetry” – Get it?)

If you’re a golfer, and you’re not a professional, chances are good you’ve had some of the issues listed below. And if that’s correct, you absolutely identify with all the frustration that can bring(especially if you’re golfing in front ofother people).

•If you are bringing the club back too close to your body, it corrects you.

•If your arms aren’t working with your torso, it corrects you.

•If you don’t turn your hips before impact, it corrects this too.

•It has a multi-directional pivot point which allows it to be used by right handed and left handed golfers alike. Once it is placed on the golfer’s hip it provides a perfect guide for taking the club back on the proper plane, and the perfect touch point for the leading elbow at impact and follow through.

•It fits discretely in your pocket or golf bag.

•Immediate feedback allows you know when you are swinging properly, and when you are not.

That being said, if there was a golf aid that could help you look less embarrassing on the course, you would likely jump at the chance to do that. Which is why the golf merchandise industry brings in revenue of approximately $25 BILLION a year worldwide.

Why Should You Fund the ProsPosition?

• By funding at $40, you can have one of the first ones and get better at golf than your friends

• Your birthday/Father’s Day shopping is taken care of in a snap(you’re welcome Dad)

• You’re helping the golf community gain street cred

• You’ll stop losing those $5 golf balls ( It’ll save you money )

• You’ll win more golf bets ( It’ll make you money )

• You’ll actually look like a golfer

Product Dimensions:

Length: 4 7/8inches

Height: 3 3/4 inches

Thickness: 1/2 inch

Weight: 3 oz.

RISKS AND CHALLENGESLearn about accountability on Kickstarter

We are mindful of the many opportunities in the market for a viable well designed golf training aid. We are also aware that there are a number of hurdles which can derail even the best conceived products. Having been through this process before, we do not underestimate the challenges associated with bringing a product to market.
Chief among these hurdles are proper testing of the device, sufficient financing, appropriate marketing message, direct marketing channels to consumers, inexperienced personnel, adequate inventory levels for quick order fulfillment, responsive customer service, and unrealistic expectations. New products offered by new brands have an inherent level of caution applied to them by the consumer. Rightly so. Too many times a new product comes to market which over promises and under delivers. This is a certain failure no matter how quickly it begins to sell. In the current age of instant consumer feedback it is critical to have the product performing exactly as it is marketed, or even better. Once objective third party reviews and positive feedback are provided to the market, credibility is established and strengthened.
Our approach is to ensure that the Pros Position is market ready from the very first unit. Our prototype has undergone significant use in a multitude of conditions. It has been subjected to a large number of golfers of vastly divergent skill level. From Professional golfer to pre-teen golfer, it has seen impact from right handed and left handed golfers alike, and still it performs as though it were new. By subjecting the Pros Position to such rigorous trials we are confident of its ability to perform for the consumer. After ensuring the product’s durability, we must be certain of its consistency. The first unit must be, in form and function, the same as the 900,000th unit. Adequate financing allows for modifications in production and design if initial product runs do not meet performance standards. Even after stringent design specifications, this problem does occur. Without proper resources it can be disastrous.
Once the comfort level of a market ready product has been achieved it is necessary to promote it as quickly and broadly as possible. Through accounts currently in place on all major social media sites, an aggressive email campaign, and placement in appropriate magazine placements, we will generate base level sales sufficient to support additional marketing efforts and grow our inventory. Once achieved, we will be in a position to offer large quantity purchases to retail outlets, and home shopping television channels.
In the parlance of the business world we have conducted a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats) analysis of this business model and have provided the following:
• Strengths – an experienced management team, a market tested product, and low cost company infrastructure
• Weaknesses – insufficient capital, insufficient inventory, part time application of talent to tasks
• Opportunities – a $25 billion golf industry, multiple successful competitive products that do not perform as well as ours, 2 additional products in development
• Threats – other than swarming locusts, stagnant growth in the golf industry, uncertainty of production capabilities, better funded counterfeit products, illegal reproduction into emerging markets
Once funding goals are met we are extremely confident we will be able to take full advantage of the ‘first mover principle’ and dominate this market segment before any legitimate threat is formed.
Thank you for your time and consideration, we appreciate all of your help and support.

The Pros Position #Kickstarter press release- a patented golf solution designed to suit any golfer.

Contact: Kinship Marketing

Michael B. Licata Launches Kickstarter Crowdfunding Campaign- Pros Position.
The goal is to raise $9,500 for the a new patented golf solution tool.

Buffalo, NY– Michael B. Licata has launched a crowdfunding campaign on, in hope of raising a total of $85,000 to help cover the costs associated with the production of a new patented golf solution tool.

“The ProsPosition is a patented golf solution designed to suit any golfer. This lightweight tool fits discretely in your pocket until you’re ready to swing. At that point, you simply clip it onto your belt, swing away and let the Pros Position notify you when you’re making an error. “

Supporters are invited to make a contribution ranging from $1 to $1,000.

Donors won’t walk away empty-handed. Contributors will receive a thank you gift, ranging from having their name placed on the ProsPosition webpage to a complete ProPosition golfers kit.

To make a contribution or to learn more about Pros Position, visit

We the People 2.0 – The 2nd American Revolution #Indiegogo #Film


We the People 2.0 – The 2nd American Revolution

We the People 2.0 is a film about communities fighting back and winning against corporations that sludge, mine, frack and pollute.

— First Week Update —

Thank you all for contributing in our first week here with Indiegogo! It has been so heartwarming to receive the support for a film that is for all communities. We thought you would like to hear a clip from an interview for the film, it’s with Natalia Greene of the Pachamama Foundation in Ecuador. This interview footage is from one of the first shoots for We the People 2.0. Natalia tells how the Pachamama Alliance worked in Ecuador with other groups to pass the rights of nature at the constitutional level in Ecuador. Hear from Natalia about their work there, why it is so important and the global alliance of this work that includes CELDF. Thanks again and help spread the word!!! – Leila Conners, Mathew Schmid of We the People 2.0

To view this clip, please click on the updates tab above, and the video appears there.

Natalia Greene of the Pachamama Foundation for We the People 2.0

Why We are Making This Film

I directed, wrote and produced The 11th Hour with Leonardo DiCaprio, and in the process of creating that film, I interviewed 72 experts in all fields of environmental and scientific research to determine how bad the environmental crisis was. This process started in 2004 and the film came out in 2007. What I found was that the crisis was worse than any of us know, and that the stability of the very life-support systems of the earth – those systems that we all depend on, are in jeopardy. The fact that this reality doesn’t drive all aspects of political decision-making and penetrate into our daily lives is mind blowing. We still are at much of the destructive behavior that must change if we are to survive.

So since The 11th Hour, I’ve been very interested in seeing where we can truly change. We produced a film on urban farming in Detroit called Urban Roots as we felt that urban farming is a real solution. Now we are working on this film, as we believe that true change can be found in the work of Thomas Linzey and CELDF – the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. I truly believe that this work can possibly save us all, and I mean, really save us, and that is why I am making a film about the work, how it came about and why it matters so much.

The film will explain how and why what they are doing – asserting the right to local self-government and driving the rights of nature into law – is so revolutionary, groundbreaking, gamechanging, profound, and necessary everywhere. By coming to the aid of communities who are fighting fracking, sludging, mining, and other polluting industries that threaten the well-being and health of people in those communities, CELDF found how to prevent the unstoppable march of destruction at the hands of large corporations.

As this solution to the environmental crisis is based in communities everywhere, we felt that it would be very exciting and important to appeal to people everywhere to help make this film happen. It is a people’s movement that is based on creating a world in which clean air, water, soil, food and people are possible and ensured for future generations. So be part of making this happen, help fund the film, and please join us in this groundbreaking movement. – Leila Conners

Our Budget

Our total budget is $450,000 and we are looking to crowdfund $150,000 or more if we can! The budget will pay for filming Thomas Linzey, filming the townships in Pennsylvania where the movement began, editing the film with a professional editor, stock footage costs (still very expensive!) that would show news reporting of local stories like fracking, sludging, and other polluting incidents, helicopter shots of local communities that have been stricken by polluting industries, and a solid musical sound-track.

Our Perks

Our perks have some great things including the possiblity of speaking with Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil of CELDF to consult on your community’s issues and DVDs, books about this movement. The book we offer is “Be the Change” by Anneke Campbell and Thomas Linzey.

We also have a promo poster from our last film, Urban Roots, by Shepard Fairey that fits the topics of this film too, it’s a poster that supports local farming and urban farming and the right to access to healthy food.

Our Film Proposal

Whether it’s climate change or the health of our oceans, air, and soil, the planet is worse off now than it was 40 years ago, and rapidly declining. Yet, corporations and those who run them are doing just fine. It feels like the environmental movement isn’t working. What did other movements know that we don’t?

We The People 2.0, Tree Media’s new film with Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, reveals what’s not working and presents a solution that strengthens our communities and stops the endless destruction of our ecological web of life.

Sustainability is impossible without community democracy.

Tree Media has joined with Thomas Linzey and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to create a film about community rights and how communities can protect themselves and the nature that sustains them. We think that when more communities act to put in place rights-based frameworks of law for both themselves and ecosystems that allow them to create a healthy sustainable world for themselves; then, all these communities, networked, will mount a substantial response to the global environmental threat. That means harnessing the power of government towards sustainability, rather than towards environmental degradation. The primary goal of this film is to inspire communities across the country to engage with this organizing, such that more communities work to adopt local laws asserting a community right to local self-government and the rights of nature.

Tree Media is most known for our film, The 11th Hour, with Leonardo DiCaprio and our most recent film is Urban Roots, about the emergence of urban farming in Detroit. Thomas Linzey and the Community Environmental Defense Fund is most known for their work with communities to enact Community Bill of Rights Ordinances. The biggest win to date was in Pittsburgh in November 2010 to ban fracking within the city limits. Community Rights Ordinances have now been enacted throughout the country and are supported by Democracy Schools that the CELDF runs.

Communities across the country face threats from corporate activities such as mining, drilling, factory farming, sludging, and water extraction. What each of these communities finds as they try to stop these threats, is that they do not have the legal authority to say “no” to them. In certain communities, this begins a conversation about why they can’t say “no” and can lead to a deeper questioning – if we aren’t able to make critical decisions about the places where we live, do we have democracy? If not, why not? And, then, what are we going to do about it?

We envision a film that helps people break out of the box of conventional, traditional activism to make fundamental change which elevates the rights of people, communities, and nature over the interests of property and commerce. These communities have reached the shared conclusion that without replacing the complex web of law and governance which subordinates communities to higher levels of government and corporate decision making, they will never have democracy and will be unable to protect their communities, the environment, the local economy, local agriculture, or quality of life.

In the footsteps of the Abolitionists and the Suffragists, these communities are frontally challenging an illegitimate structure of law and governance – what many have described as a “corporate state” – which protects and empowers a minority of wealthy interests over the majority. Through local lawmaking, they are taking on nearly 200 years of jurisprudence which clothes private corporations in the protection of the U.S. Constitution and which has resulted in a very small number of people making decisions that have decimated the natural environment and local economies; commodified nature, workers, and people; and undermined the ability of communities to self-govern.

Telling the Story of Community Rights and Rights of Nature

The four elements that make up the legal framework which prohibits communities from saying “no” to sludging and other threats, and thus which form a barrier to local self-government, are:

  1. Corporate Constitutional Rights – with which private corporations are able to override local decision making and chill efforts to stop a corporation from coming into a community;
  2. State and Federal Preemption – whereby higher levels of government override communities from self-governing even over critical issues such as protection of the environment or public health;
  3. Dillon’s Rule – a legal doctrine under which municipalities may only do what the state explicitly authorizes them to do; and
  4. Nature as Property – the legal construct which treats nature as property, as a commodity, preventing people and communities from protecting the local environment.

These are complex topics and in order to properly explain them, Thomas Linzey will make these four issues accessible through a recounting of the history of community rights and telling the story of how this work has evolved and where it’s heading, drawing parallels with past people’s movements such as the Abolitionists and the Suffragists. Linzey will also lay out what the promise of our democracy really means in practice and how we can, as citizens, practice democracy. He will show how past people’s movements, when faced with an illegitimate structure of law, understood that nothing would truly change unless they frontally challenged that structure.

About Thomas Linzey and CELDF

Tom Linzey is a cum laude graduate of Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is a three time recipient of the Schools’ Public Interest Law Award, a 2003 recipient of the Law School’s Young Alumni Award, a 2003 finalist for the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award, and a 2004 recipient of the Pennsylvania Farmers Union’s Golden Triangle Legislative Award. He has served as an independent candidate for Attorney General, receiving over 65,000 votes statewide, and is the co-founder of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit law firm that provides free and affordable legal services to community groups and over three hundred local governments. He is admitted to practice in federal and state courts, including the Third Circuit, Fourth Circuit, Eighth Circuit, and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court. He served as coordinator of the Franklin County Coalition – a county-based association of twenty-one community groups and over thirty locally owned businesses; and for a Caucus of local governmental officials in Pennsylvania. He is a co-founder of the Daniel Pennock Democracy School – now taught across the United States – which assists groups and communities to reframe seemingly “single” environmental issues into ones focused on eliminating the ability of corporate “rights” to trump the rights of communities.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment, local agriculture, the local economy, and quality of life. The organization’s mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature. Established in 1995, CELDF has now become the principal advisor to community groups and municipal governments struggling to transition from merely regulating corporate harms to stopping those harms by asserting local, democratic control directly over corporations. Through grassroots organizing, public education and outreach, legal assistance, and drafting of ordinances, CELDF has now assisted over 140 municipalities across the U.S. to develop new laws establishing community rights and prohibiting activities such as corporate water withdrawals, factory farming, the land application of sewage sludge, and shale gas drilling and fracking.

About the Filmmaker and Tree Media

Tree Media is a production company founded 17 years ago with a mission to use media and story to inspire action and positive change. Tree Media’s prior film, The 11th Hour was distributed internationally and created an online environmental action site with over 100,000 active participants from all around the world. Tree Media strives for a “triple bottom line” that brings social and environmental benefit as well as the benefit of profit. Tree Media creates “media that matters” – entertaining, profitable media that also has deeper meaning.

Leila Conners – Director. Leila Conners founded Tree Media Group in August of 1996. Leila is most known for directing, producing and writing The 11th Hour. The film premiered at Cannes, was picked up by Warner Brothers and screened globally. Leila most recently produced and created Urban Roots, a documentary film on the post-industrial collapse of Detroit and the emergence of urban farming. She has written a feature film script for Ridley Scotts Scott Free Productions on the state of the oceans. Leila is a member of the WGA and the CFR.

Mathew Schmid – Producer. Mathew is co-director of Tree Media. With a lifelong background in education based on the principles of Anthroposophy, Mathew is interested in stories that inspire and support individual and group development. Mathew most recently Executive Produced and Produced Urban Roots, a film about Detroit and the emergence of Urban Farming. Mathew also produced the Giving Birth, a documentary on childbirth.

What People Say About Our Films

The 11th Hour
“Exhilarating, leaves you wanting more!” The Los Angeles Times
“Catch it and change the world!” Elle
“Essential viewing. An unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary.” Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Urban Roots
“I was blown away by this film!” Thom Hartmann
“I really loved the film. Very inspiring and universal in addressing the human need to cultivate literally and metaphorically.” Shepard Fairey
“Urban Roots is a very uplifting documentary about a much needed ‘thinking outside the box’ approach to helping save our city of Detroit. It shines a light on a grassroots movement that is helping to solve several major problems in our city––literally, from the ground up.” Kid Rock