Something has been happening slowly over the last two or three years that I’ve always  feared would happen some day. We are all going to lose something, and unfortunately, we have little or no way to control it.

For years, we have referred to the industries we serve as the “green industry.” We all have used the term to describe the group that encompasses the lawn care, landscape and other turf-related companies. The word “green” has also been used for years by some environmental advocates (and even a political party), but for the most part, we’ve all been free to lay claim to “green,” especially when it is put together with “industry.”

We’re going to lose it. In fact, I think we already have. The use of the term “green industry” is rapidly being co-opted as a way to describe the various companies that are springing up to address the fear of climate change. In the last week alone, I have heard the term “the green industry” used in this manner by both politicians and the news media.

I would predict that by the end of the year, the term “green industry” will be well established in the English lexicon as meaning the companies who produce products or provide services that are marketed as being of benefit in the “fight against global climate change.”

Does anyone else think this is a big deal? We’ll all most likely go on using “green industry” to describe ourselves to ourselves, but I think the other usage is going to become so well used so quickly that eventually even we will have to explain to which green industry we are referring—even to other people in the lawn care and landscaping industries. Once the other meaning gets fully entrenched, we’ll eventually have to stop using it.

So, even if this is really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things—and I know there are far more important and immediate issues facing the industry—I still think we shouldn’t let the passing of the term go unnoticed or commented on.

Of course, there is the small, yet important (at least to magazine editors), problem of what the heck are we going to call ourselves?