We’ve all heard the catchy slogan…Fall back, spring forward. It refers to the concept of Daylight Saving Time, which pretty much all of the United States has to adhere to in order to make sure we are not out of tune with the rest of the world come Sunday morning. It is like a rite of passage for us. We blindly go with the flow, but how many people really understand the history of Daylight Saving Time and where it comes from? Well, don’t worry, as always Common Sense Conspiracy has you covered.
A man you might have heard of named Benjamin Franklin first coined the Daylight Saving Time concept way back in 1784, but it wasn’t until 1895 when it was first really given serious consideration. The concept behind it is tied to many advantages that come with having some extra hours of daylight at certain times of the year. The biggest one is energy conservation. By adjusting clocks and adapting to a little different schedule, it is theorized that tons of energy resources can be conserved because that extra daylight hours means much less demand for artificial light. Also, it gives more time for recreational activities during the pleasant months of the year. Additionally, Daylight Saving Time has been credited with a reduction in automobile accidents. The idea is that since the adjusted clock schedule keeps more people out in daylight instead of dark, less accidents occur.
This all sounds really great, but many authorities disagree on whether Daylight Savings Time actually provides any of the benefits advertised. For example, recent studies in the modern era show that Daylight Savings Time does reduce the need for artificial light in the afternoons. However, the light beats down on the interior of homes, causing it to stay warmer inside than it does when the sun goes down earlier. Since people are up and about at these times, studies found that people were cranking their energy-hogging air conditioners up even more to accommodate the temperature difference. Because running an air conditioner units uses a lot more energy than artificial lights, many are pointing out that it actually has a negative effect on conservation of resources. The automobile accident benefit is another area that is under fire. While it is true that fewer accidents are reported during the summer months when DST is in effect, it only changes the time frame. Basically, when the clocks go the other way and it gets darker right around rush hour, even more traffic fatalities are recorded. So, many experts are saying that DST doesn’t make the roads safer, it just makes them safer at a particular time of year.
Then there’s the health aspect. Yes, it’s great for the kids and adults alike to have extra time to bask in the sun in the summertime. However, in the winter, when it gets dark earlier due to DST, the opposite effect happens. Now, most say that this is okay because winter temperatures keep the kids in anyway. However, with a population that shows a strong propensity for being Vitamin D deficient, less hours of sunlight in winter just mean that more people are not getting their needed Vitamin D totals. Vitamin D is created in the body when it is exposed to sunlight. It does not occur naturally, which is why orange juice and milk were fortified with supplements to help the population fight the deficiency. Furthermore, the loss of an hour of sleep when we spring forward causes a surge in heart attack prevalence as well as those that have trouble adjusting to sleep cycles anyway.
Obviously, Daylight Saving Time has big fans in various industries. For example, if you are running a golf course, it’s pretty easy to see that DST is your friend. It has mixed effects economically. Daylight can be a golf course owner’s friend, but the movie theater is sucking wind. Concession stands are flourishing at softball games while retailers find their stores empty. Put simply, every cause has an effect, every yin a yang. If one thing is doing better, then something else is doing worse.
Not every state in the United States observes Daylight Saving Time, even now. Hawaii, Arizona, and the Midway Islands (a United States territory in the Pacific) choose not to observe it at all. While this doesn’t really matter for Hawaii and the Midway Islands, imagine the dilemma of those living on the state lines in Arizona (which is not a small state, by the way.) If you live close to the state border, and perhaps even commute to work in another state, you are constantly fighting the DST battle.
So, when it’s all said and done, Daylight Savings Time is something that many are unsure if it is even necessary in this day and age, or if it presents any positive results from its’ institution. What do you think?