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Daylight Savings Time: Why Do We Do It?

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Many people were unhappy with the lost hour of sleep the morning of Sunday, March 10, when their clocks automatically calibrated themselves to “standard time”. Daylight savings time, a practice that we have taken part in for decades, continues to aggravate many across the whole country, although no one knows why we do it. One common myth about the reasons for altering our clocks is that it benefits the farmers. Another is that it conserves the amount of energy that we use up. Even if these facts are true, some places don’t even take part in DST, so why do we?

DST started during WWI (World War One), mainly to save fuel on artificial lighting. Then, in the following years, it wasn’t observed nationally again until WWII (World War 2). But the wars have long past, so why do we still participate? There are many myths circulating that claim to explain the true purpose — that it conserves energy, lets us make the most of the day, improves are health — but don’t have any evidence to back them up.

So if there if there are no benefits, why bother? It seems that many have caught on. Less than 40% of countries in the world participate in DST (timeanddate.com). This is mainly because DST is implemented to make the most of each evening. However, the change in light is more noticeable in areas farthest from the equator. As a result, DST is usually not observed in the tropics. “The closer you live to the North or South Pole, the longer the period of daylight in the summer. Thus, Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) is usually not helpful in the tropics, and countries near the equator generally do not change their clocks.” (webexhibits.com)

However, it all just might come to an end. According to Proposition 7, the California State Legislature would establish permanent, year-round DST — meaning no changing any clocks — if a sufficient number of voters supported the motion. Proposition 7 was on the ballot in California on November 6, 2018, and enough people voted in favor of only one time; the measure was approved. But what does that mean? DST is not going to end automatically; the Legislature’s bill needs a two-thirds vote, the governor’s signature, and Congressional approval. There are downsides to permanent daylight saving time, too. For example, it would be difficult to endure the months of dark mornings if we did keep a permanent time. So the future of DST in California is still in doubt.

 

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Daylight Savings Time: Why Do We Do It?