It’s that time of year again, when the available light does not match the available heat. Before we go to bed on Saturday—or not, if all our devices update themselves—we set our clocks ahead an hour, as Daylight Savings Time clicks into place at precisely 2 a.m. on Sunday.
Nothing astronomical is happening, of course. This one is all about us humans—our desire to save energy, according to WiseGeek.org. Conceived by Benjamin Franklin in concept in 1784, Daylight Saving (no “s,” though that is a popular mistake) Time is today observed in about 70 countries around the world. the site says. Franklin did not propose changing clocks; he merely suggested a change in sleep schedule, WiseGeek.org says.
It was up to one George Vernon Hudson to recommend changing the clocks, which he did in 1895, according to Timeanddate.com. He died before it was implemented, which happened in Germany in 1916, National Geographic recounts.
“The clock change has two main purposes: to increase evening daytime hours for outdoor leisure activities and to save on energy consumption,” said WiseGeek.org, a “team of researchers, writers and editors dedicated to providing short, clear and concise answers to common questions,” according to its site.
The time change was not standardized and legislated in the U.S. until 1966, WiseGeek.org says, and even today, states can pass a law that enables them not to observe it. Utah is in the throes of just such a referendum, the Provo Daily Herald reports. House Bill 197 (H.B. 197), making its way through the state legislature, would require the governor’s Office of Economic Development to meet with “the various interested parties on the issue to discuss if Utah should end the practice of springing forward and falling back,” the Daily Herald reported on March 5. The goal is mainly to let Utah residents know that they have the option to switch if they want to, Republican State Representative Ronda Menlove told the newspaper.
Kentucky also is studying a bill to abolish Daylight Saving Time, while neighboring Tennessee is looking at extending DST year-round. But Utah and Kentucky aren’t the only places where Daylight Savings Time is not welcome. Astronomers hate it too, according to the site Astroguyz.com. Besides being confusing because it is not observed consistently, it was based on now-antiquated notions of work habits and energy usage, the site notes.
Although the U.S. moved Daylight Savings Time up by three weeks in 2007, Europe continues to observe it beginning March 30, according to Timeanddate.com, which has a wealth of information on time zones and time changes. Either way, we here on Turtle Island will not see that hour again until November 2, when it is returned to us.
Astroguyz.com highlighted this video explaining the whys, wherefores and what-fors of Daylight Saving Time. It even talks about the changes within the Navajo and Hopi nations as one example of why Daylight Saving Time is overrated by those who would extoll its light-giving and money-saving qualities.
As the allegedly American Indian quip goes, “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”