What do you picture when you hear those words?
Greenpeace activists passing out pamphlets? Whale-petting environmental scientists gathered on a boat's bow in the Arctic? Al Gore running through slides in front of a V.I.P. audience?
Over the years -- 41 of them, in fact -- the name and holiday have come to be politically and socially charged, a figurehead for granola-crunching green advocates who'd rather hike up a mountain than take the subway.
(Not that there's anything wrong with that. There are plenty of readers here at SmartPlanet who are exactly that, and we salute you.)
But we also salute the normal folks: the average Joes who work a nine-to-five and their bosses, who historically couldn't be bothered by such trivial concerns as "going green."
You see, it's 2011, and "green" means a lot of things: reduced environmental impact, sure, but also efficient operations, smarter technology, improved logistics and, at its core, a more intelligent way of living and working.
(Because the smarter we are about what we do -- smart in the "common sense" way, not the "cunning" way -- the better it is for everyone.)
But Earth Day has also come to mean another thing: opportunity. Going green has become big business, and it's an unprecedented time in world history when the largest corporations and the aforementioned Greenpeace activists are, oddly enough, on the same side.
That's why we're happy to introduce our Earth Day Special Feature for 2011. In it, you'll find the many ways environmentalism is making sense -- from inside the lab to beneath city streets to retail stores to emerging nations.
Read, discover, enjoy -- then tell us what you think Earth Day means.
SmartPlanet's Earth Day Special Feature 2011:
- Why cities are on the ‘cutting edge of environmentalism’
- Climate change: it's time for the health sector to get involved
- Earthquake could threaten California’s water supply
- Tech, sustainability meet on the robotic marijuana farm
- Invention may lead to greener power plants
- Accidental environmentalist designs furniture from invasive species
- When it comes to packaging, is it possible to be ‘too’ green?
- Reuse and recycling, a modest proposal
- 10 steps toward making your home ‘net zero’
- Video: Are hybrids worth the extra cost?
Plus, SmartPlanet's Earth Day Special Feature 2010: