The United States’ spirit is youthful — full of innovation and entrepreneurship. Indeed, millions of Americans will honor Earth Day by petitioning their government and patronizing companies that reduce their carbon footprint.

Naysayers may mock the movement. But the times have changed, and the warming trend is apolitical. The green economy is flourishing nationwide, affecting the American mindset. Reversing course is untenable — and uneconomic.  “In every sector, you have the natural leaders,” said Tim Lenton, a professor of climate change at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. “And you have the ones resisting change. But you don’t need everyone to change upfront. We need to reach the tipping point of a particular group, and everyone else will follow. The early adopters and leaders make all the difference.”

Modern, green-tech enterprises have usurped the old factory and mining jobs. In other words, coal mines may be closing in West Virginia, but battery storage facilities are opening there. This is progress, requiring workers to enhance their job skills and the government to invest in 21st-century infrastructure.

Enter the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed in 2022. The private sector has announced at least 210 significant new green energy and clean vehicle projects nationwide. If they come to fruition, they will create 74,181 jobs and attract $86.3 billion, according to findings by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), a nonpartisan business group advocating for policies that are good for the economy and the environment.

The CHIPs Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act preceded that.

The U.S. economy is becoming greener, according to the Energy Information Administration. Coal once provided more than half of the nation’s electricity, but it’s now at 16 percent,. Natural gas, which releases half the carbon dioxide, is at 43 percent, while renewables comprise 21.5 percent — a number destined to escalate.

The clean energy cause is similar to the one that rural America faced after the Great Depression in the 1930s: As part of the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration to bring electricity and economic development to isolated sections of this country.

Rural America benefited from forward-thinking policies — the same way the nation’s hardest hit are gradually evolving.

For example, Duke Energy is building one of Kentucky’s most extensive solar arrays — 5,600 photovoltaic panels on the 800,000-square-foot Amazon Air Hub roof. Meanwhile, Form Energy is building a battery storage facility in West Virginia that will employ 750 people.

“The people of West Virginia are ahead of their leaders,” says James Van Nostrand, author of “The Coal Trap.” “The transition is underway, and we need to get some clean energy jobs out of it. Otherwise, we will go down the drain with coal.”

Climate change is less a partisan issue than it is a generational divide. While some older Americans yearn to return to yesteryear, younger ones are moving forward. They want long-lasting, sustainable jobs that contribute to their quality of life.

Some may deride climate change as a hoax. But most of us want to address it. Consider: Canadian authorities just warned of another catastrophic wildfire season — felt by those along the U.S. East Coast last year. More than 6,500 fires burned in Canada in 2023 due to droughts and hotter temperatures.

Moreover, we are losing two ice sheets: Greenland and West Antarctica. Then there’s the loss of coral reefs; 500,000 people depend on them for their livelihoods, not to mention the millions who snorkel. Sea levels in Boston and New York have also been rising an inch annually every eight years since 1950.

But don’t lose heart; consumer demand and technical progress have forced the corporate world to respond. Volvo is phasing out the internal combustion engine and making only alternatively fueled cars. Meanwhile, Tesla has open-sourced its technology for advanced electric vehicle batteries.

Even the most obstinate political leaders will heel — once they realize this is where the votes are. Earth Day is, therefore, making a difference.