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Welcome to SmartPlanet's Earth Day Special Feature 2011

Welcome to SmartPlanet's Earth Day Special Feature 2011

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Earth Day Special Feature 2011: What does Earth Day mean to you? In our editorial package, find out why going green suddenly makes sense for corporations and individuals alike.

Earth Day.

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.

-The Editors

SmartPlanet's Earth Day Special Feature 2011:

Plus, SmartPlanet's Earth Day Special Feature 2010:

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure