Weekend Reminder: Spring Forward! Daylight Saving Time is here, so don’t forget to turn your clocks forward an hour.
This Sunday, March 11, some three weeks earlier than usual, Daylight Saving Time kicks in at 2 a.m. and will last until the first Sunday in November. Based on the passage of the 2005 Energy Policy Act that takes affect this year, DST has been extended by four weeks. Typically, DST begins the first Sunday in April and runs through the last Sunday in October.
The theory behind DST is that people make better use of the extended daylight hours. With longer “synthetic sunshine” consumers have less need for lights, and other appliances. Studies show that energy demand is directly connected to bedtime. During DST, the sun is already up by the time most people wake. Less energy is needed to light the home, so less energy is consumed overall.
More in the Extended Article.
DST HISTORY AND FUTURE
Daylight Saving Time was first adopted in the United States in 1918, coinciding with World War I. Due to its almost nationwide unpopularity; the practice was repealed and not reinstated until Feb. 9, 1942 as a conservation measure during WWII.
Again, it fell into sporadic use since federal law did not mandate states had to observe DST. During this time travel became an exercise in resetting clocks. Anyone driving the 35-mile route between Moundsville, WV and Steubenville, Ohio had to adjust their watches seven times.
The federal Uniform Time Act of 1966 finally made DST a nationwide law – again. Since then it has undergone several amendments that resulted in at least two states opting out of observing the time saving measure – Hawaii and Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation, which spans three separate states.)
Until 2005 when its state legislature agreed to observe DST, Indiana was unique in that it straddled two separate time zones. Because of this, Indiana had 82 counties on Eastern Standard Time with 77 that did not use DST and another 5 counties that did use DST, plus 10 more counties on Central Standard Time that did use DST. Last year, Indiana joined 47 other states, observing DST for the first time statewide.
Evident in the lack of universal acceptance of DST, there are abundant detractors to the idea of saving daylight.
In 1945, author Robertson Davies made this observation, which was strongly felt by many: “I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind… At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.”
Davies arguments are echoed by some historian that suggest Benjamin Franklin first recommended saving daylight in the mid 1750s through his much quoted Poor Richard’s Almanack, “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Other historians refute that assumption by pointing out that Franklin was simply saying people should not waste time in bed, and not suggesting anything like Daylight Saving Time.
Arguments have also been made that the decreased use of lights during DST, does not offset the increased use of air conditioning, especially since the bulk of DST occurs during hot summer months. This is the main reason Arizona opted out of using DST.
Hawaii doesn’t use DST because day lengths in the tropics don’t fluctuate enough to make the change worthwhile.
No matter what the arguments are, either for or against, DST it seems is around to stay for quite some time.