The Rapidian

Moral Ground 2010: A Visual Artist’s Environmental Perspective

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The Moral Ground Town Hall Meeting

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010
Time: 7 pm
Location: Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain NE
This event is free and open to the public.
The evening will include live music from local folk/rock band Big Dudee Roo, brief readings from "Moral Ground" editors Moore and Nelson, and an open discussion with the audience. A reception and book signing will follow.

Event sponsors: GRCC, GVSU, and the City of Grand Rapids.
Visit: for more information.

Find other responses to the "Moral Ground" question from local leaders here.

“I definitely think we have a moral and ethical obligation to protect our planet. Even more importantly we have an obligation to acquire the knowledge it takes to improve the environment around us, or at the least, help it to remain unharmed.
~ Alison Bailey, Artist & Designer

Alison Bailey, Kendall College of Art and Design Illustration graduate and Wolverine World Wide designer, candidly shares her worldviews related to the new book "Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril". At age 29 she has gained experience within a footwear corporation as well as the local artistic community. Recently she was awarded first prize for a poster design benefiting First-Hand Aid, a local organization that delivers medical aid to the people of Cuba. Also, in June, her artwork was displayed at Gallery 509, in Kalamazoo, for the Pride in the Vine – An LGBT Art Experience.
When asked if there is one environmental and social extreme that is at the forefront of her mind when thinking of responsibility to the planet, Bailey answers: "Whenever I think about how humans are hurting the environment I always think of The Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century. How much were humans polluting the air with all the coal used to progress industry and urbanization back then? Forests were being cut down and water was being polluted at an astronomical rate. There were no laws, regulations, treaties or protocols enforcing what could or could not be done with toxic waste and run-off. Lung disease was common and in 1952, 4000 people actually died due to the smog in England."
Though she mentions this lack of positive environmental action in the past, Bailey does see some positives now.  "Today we are more aware because of different marketing campaigns, the Internet, Al Gore, “green” products, etc. The more we find out about the damage that has been done to the earth, the more regulations we put into place to stop the destruction. My hope is we get to the point where it is second nature to recycle that can, or turn the water off when brushing your teeth or spend the extra money to buy the “energy saver” appliance."
When asked if she believes that people can or will adopt an 'every little bit helps' approach, she remarks: "People are always quoted as saying, “We need to take action now so our future generations will have a clean and healthy planet.” I personally believe we need to take action now because it helps us as human beings to become the people and society we are truly meant to be. Moral obligation goes deeper than saving our planet; to me it is to bring us together as a community."
Bailey sees the need for a healthy interdependent community as the heart of our efforts.  "Saving the environment will happen, slowly, but it will happen. We will learn from our mistakes and therefore our future generations will prosper. Not necessarily because we 'saved'  the planet for them but because we worked together as a community and learned what we needed to do to continue the process of healthy development."
On Grand Rapids' record, she says, "I am very proud to say I live in Grand Rapids because I feel as though the community has taken huge strides in evolving into a green city. There has been a recycling program for residents for quite a few years but this past summer a new program was initiated, which will eventually result in rewards for households in the form of money towards local businesses."  Though she doesn't believe residents need to be rewarded for recycling and other environmentally wise decisions, she does say, "It will help motivate those people that need instant gratification. Our community has made the 'right thing to do' the new cool."
Bailey also notes her local farmer's market's role in helping to foster community.  "I love, love, love the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market not only because of the great items for sale but because of the people. There really is a sense of belonging when you talk with a local vendor or your neighbor who is leaning over and buying the fresh and organically grown flowers."
Regarding Wolverine World Wide, she says, "I appreciate where I work because my company has made a huge effort to become green. As an employee I’m encouraged to involve myself within the community in order to play a part in sustainable progress for the business and world around me. Plus, within the last five years we’ve acquired the brands Patagonia, Chaco, and Cushe which has influenced WWW to become more green at the corporate level."
Tuesday, Oct. 26. at 7 p.m. Spectrum Theater in Grand Rapids will be hosting a Moral Ground Town Hall Meeting (see sidebar for additional details).

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