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Daylight Savings Time – Does It Save?

(Photo by Chris Hondros)

It’s that time of year again. Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00 AM local time on Saturday, March 11. Just who’s bright idea was this?

That distinction belongs to George Vernon Hudson who first proposed the idea way back in 1895. DST was first used during WW I in 1916 by the Germans and their Allies and the US followed suit in 1918. Ever since people either love it or hate it.

The Good, Bad and Ugly of DST

More daylight benefits certain industries like retail outlet’s, sports and other activities people do after work when there is more sunlight. Other industries aren’t too fond of DST like TV for example. When it’s dark people stay inside and watch TV rather than sit outside and enjoy the nice warm weather. There are other problems like losing an hour of sleep each spring that we all have to readjust our sleep patterns. During the energy and gasoline crisis of the 1970’s the excuse for DST was to conserve the energy used by the incandescent bulbs.

If we all worked according to the position of the sun each day there would be no need for DST. We would get up with the sun rather than the clock. Rather than Each year people are late for meetings, appointments, caused by the confusion of the time change. Many computers and clock radios make the adjustment automatically but in recent years the dates have been changed. DST used to be done every six months. Now, more time has been added to each end to increase the daylight hours causing some devices to change the time either before or after adding to the confusion.

DST and The Rest of the World

If you think the US has confusion when the time changes imagine what you would do if you lived in Brazil. Depending on the date the US could be one, two or even three hours different than Brazil. And, in the southern hemisphere the times are reversed due to the entry of spring in the north and fall in the south.

In 1884, the world finally got together to agree on something. I doubt it’s happened since. They agreed to divide the world into 24 standard time zones, in 15-degree increments and 60-minute intervals giving us our 24-hour day. At the 180th meridian the created the International Date Line where the calendar days are separated. When I left South Vietnam during that conflict I landed in California a half hour before I left Saigon because the flight went east and crossed the dateline into the previous day. Confusing? You bet. No wonder we get jet lag.

Some Final Thoughts

Personally, I am a proponent of DST. I like having the sunlight later in the summer and enjoy doing things outside. Due to our climate other than skiing and hunting we are mostly confined to our homes during the winter. Because of our far north location we often find ourselves going to work in the dark and driving home in the dark. Winter can be depressing. To sleep through two or more hours of daylight rather than having it later in the day makes little sense to me.

So I will put up with the confusion and sleep deprivation coming up on March 11th. More light just signals spring is on the way. I’m ready to “spring forward,” I’ll “fall back” next November.

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