“Keeping time” is a made-up idea. We don’t own time, and in fact, it is very much the opposite. Time owns us. Time makes us greedy for more when we don’t have enough, and ungrateful and anxious when we want it to pass quickly. As a society, we seem to never be satistfied.
The most flagrant manipulation of time to-date, is the observation of Daylight Savings Time (DST). You know, the beloved or hated “fall back–spring ahead” practices that take place in the spring and fall of every year.
Just the facts, Ma’am:
- Benjamin Franklin was the first person to suggest the concept of Daylight Savings Time, but didn’t know how to implement it
- The purpose of DST is to “save” energy
- DST was first implemented in 1918 during WWI to save resources. Actually, the Germans did it first.
- Since the end of WWII, DST has not been federally enforced and states may choose to observe it
- During wartime, DST was observed year round
- Also during 1973 and 1974 during the Arab Oil Embargo, DST was once again observed throughout the winter.
- There are conflicting studies on whether or not DST actually saves resources and whether or not it is good for your health.
- Arizona (except for residents of the Navajo Indian Reservation), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands do not observe DST.
- Some other countries in the world observe DST and some do not. Japan hasn’t observed it in 60 years, but some scientists now suggest that it may reduce the nation’s energy crisis due to the Fukishima Disaster.
- In 2005, the Energy Policy Act was enacted, mandating a controversial month-long extension of daylight saving time that began in 2007.
As far as I can tell, the point of DST is to have an extra hour of daylight in the the spring and summer to reduce energy expenditures such as artificial light. Arizona said heck no. Since DST would make it light until 9 o’clock, and the residents there would be getting an awfully late start to their sundown activities, which are important in such crazy heat. Plus, DST adds and extra hour of sweltering heat onto the day, especially for those south of the Mason-Dixon Line. So, say you get off work earlier because of DST, you’re still going home to a hot, hot house where you use the A/C for that hour.
So… where are the energy savings???
To the further that point, scientists like Hedrick Wolff of the University of Washington have noted that in saving the hour of energy in the evening only adds it to the hour of darkness in the mornings. Other studies have shown that workers have more on-the-job injuries, get 40 minutes less sleep, and other scientists such as Till Roenneberg suggest that circadian rhythms never recover from DST.
And clearly, the person who invented and implemented DST didn’t have kids.
Personally, what troubles me the most about it is that it is totally unnatural. Proponents of DST say that it leads to a more active and healthy lifestyle, and that it “marks the beginning of spring” for most. I struggle to not find that to be a load of crap, because with the arrival of spring and summer is the arrival of more light; naturally. It’s kind of hard to have a proper study of that idea when nature is in your favor anyway, right?
What would happened if we just abandoned the outdated, war-time practice? Who would suffer, if anyone? Who would lose money? Surely, it must be about money at the end-of-the-day, right? Because if it wasn’t, would we still do it?
I just don’t see the point in it.
What do you think? Do you love DST? Or hate it? And why? Share your thoughts with us, either in the comments or on facebook. I’d love to hear your opinion.
I think I’ve made my opinion clear. *Steps down from soapbox* 🙂 Thanks for joining me.
- National Geographic Daily News
- Why Arizona Doesn’t Observe DST–abc15.com
- Daylight Saving Change: Energy Boon or Waste of Time
- Standard Time