One sun lighting everyone
One world turning
One world turning everyone
from One Light, One Sun
Written by Raffi
Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1988
Here’s the truth. Daylight Savings Time puts an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.
And here’s the whole truth. We pay for that hour of daylight with the loss of one hour. At 2:00 a.m. March 13, we all rolled the hands of our clocks around one full turn to make them say 3:00. a.m. March 14 was a 23-hour day.
Personally, I moved the hands of my clock at 9:30 p.m., before I called the day over.
Don’t get me wrong. I like daylight as much as anyone. It’s just getting harder and harder every year to make the switch. We’ve just passed the one-week mark and I’m still adjusting.
I expected Wilson, the cat who lives with me, would wake me up at 5:30 instead of 4:30. I was wrong. He probably mis-counted the hours since his evening snack.
So, what happened to that hour? Does anyone really know? Does anybody even care?
Well, the way I see it, that hour is in limbo until the first Sunday in November when we all move the clock hands counter-clock-wise and re-place that lost hour in a 25-hour day.
Representative Vern Buchanan of Florida introduced The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 (HB 69) on January 4. Fifteen co-sponcers from ten different states and both political parties signed on. The Act would make DST permanent, so we’d all stay sprung forward. No time changing in November. It’s in the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce now, either being discussed or waiting to be discussed.
But introducing permanent DST is nothing new.
Benjamin Franklin sent a letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris in 1784 suggesting Parisians move their clocks back one hour in the dark days of winter while they slept to better enjoy the short daylight hours more fully. He proposed the money saved in buying candles would be enormous. Nothing came of his suggestion; most people think it was said in jest.
Congress has been debating the idea since adopting the Standard Time Act of March 1918. It set summer DST from March 31, 1918, to October 27. The idea was unpopular, especially with farmers. More daylight at the end of the day meant more darkness in the early morning hours when they did their milking and other morning chores.
After WWI, Woodrow Wilson abolished the law, leaving the option to continue fooling around with Time up to individual localities.
Franklin Roosevelt established year-round DST in 1942. He called it “War Time Hours.” It lasted until the last Sunday in September, 1945.
From then until 1966, it was up to the various states or cities to follow DST or not and establish their own start and end dates. As you can imagine, that led to a complicated patchwork of chronology. Imagine truckers, shippers, and railway engineers delivering goods across many states. Or the arrangements you’d need to make to phone friends and loved-ones who lived far away.
In 1966, the transportation industry asked for federal legislation to sort out the mess and in 1967, the Uniform Time Act became the law of the land. Clocks would spring ahead one hour at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in April and fall back one hour at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in October. The Department of Transportation was charged with enforcing the law.
States were allowed to exempt themselves. Arizona and Hawaii do not observe DST. Neither do the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands.
Turns out DST is more than an inconvenience. I checked with some experts.
According toThe Sleep Foundation, even though the effects of DST subside gradually after a few weeks, the move has been linked to a higher risk of obesity, depression, and cardiovascular disease. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/circadian-rhythm/daylight-saving-time
Studies have also linked the time change to increased car accidents and workplace injuries.https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/daylight-saving-health.html
- A Swedish study found that the risk of having a heart attack increases in the first three weekdays after switching to DST in the spring.
- Tiredness induced by the clock change is thought to be the main cause for the increase in traffic accidents on the Monday following the start of DST.
- On Mondays after the start of DST there were more workplace injuries, and the injuries were of greater severity compared to other Mondays.
- The start of DST has also been linked to miscarriages for in vitro fertilization patients.
- A Danish study found an 11% increase in depression cases after the time change. The cases dissipated gradually after 10 weeks.
- An Australian study found that male suicide rates increased on the days after the spring and fall DST shift.
They also say the nighttime crime rate diminishes. We enjoy a 7% decrease in robberies.
Pedestrian fatalities decrease by 13% in the dawn and dusk hours.
I wonder, could these decreases be attributed to more daylight in general? After all, the hours of daylight will continue to increase until the Summer Solstice, Sunday, June 10, 2021.
I don’t plan to move to Hawaii, (or Arizona or any of the US territories, for that matter) but I would like to stop fooling Father Time.
-—stay curious! (and enjoy an evening walk)