“How did it get so late so soon?” ~ Dr. Seuss
On Sunday morning, it’s time to spring forward. This is my favorite time of the year because I know winter will soon depart. Until recently, I never realized how upset people get at the idea of losing one hour of sleep. Studies have even shown there is an increase in heart attacks during the first week of DST.
Approximately 70 countries utilize daylight saving time in at least a portion of the country. India, Japan and China are the only major industrialized countries that don’t observe some form of DST. In the United States, all states recognize DST, with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii.
Benjamin Franklin is widely credited for being the first to have the idea, but he did not implement Daylight Saving Time. In 1784, as an American delegate in Paris, he suggested the late rising French could save money in candles if daylight could last an hour longer for half the year. He also believed it would increase summer daylight work hours. The modern idea of DST was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson. However, the first official and established use of the idea occurred during World War II when Germany and its allies implemented changing clocks to conserve coal.
Originally the idea behind the change was to save energy, however there are mixed results showing any reduction of gasoline or electricity consumption. Some argue the energy savings by DST is offset by the energy used by people who reside in warm climates to cool their homes during summer afternoon and evenings. In addition, the argument can be made that more hours of light in the evening results in more people out doing errands, thus consuming more gasoline.
The assumed benefits of daylight saving time go beyond energy conservation. Advocates suggest that DST prevents crime since many crimes are committed after dark. They also argue commuting home during daylight hours, reduces the number of traffic accidents in the evening. The sports and recreation industries are big proponents of DST, especially in the golf industry. People can work a full day at the office and still have time to get in nine holes of golf before sundown.
Personally, I don’t care much about the studies that show the benefits or the downside of DST. If I lose an hour of sleep it’s just an excuse to drink more coffee or tea. For me, DST takes me back to my childhood and summer vacation, playing kickball in the cul-de-sac at 8:30 p.m. and still being able to see the ball. It’s hanging out with friends waiting patiently with our jar in hand, to see the first firefly of the night.
I no longer play kickball and I can’t recall the last time I caught a firefly, but my mood is better with those extra hours of daylight in the evening. To come home from work and have several hours of daylight to do chores or just relax on the back patio with a book or do some writing, reminds me spring and summer are on the way and so are my hummingbirds.
How about you? Daylight saving time, love it or hate it?