In recognition of my new subscribers since last year at this time, I’m rerunning my standard END DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME (DST) rant. But which rant shall I choose? There are now four!
So, considering that extra hour of sleep we need each night this week to compensate for the added risk to our lives from this DST upheaval (yes, you’ll read more of this below), I’ll start with my first rant, DST: Yay or Nay, from November 6, 2013. Then, I’ve added a few more links from later DST rant posts.
With the nearly nationwide return this past weekend to Standard Time (I say nearly because not all states or territories observe Daylight Saving Time) I got curious once again about this scourge of school children everywhere.
I’ll start with a short quiz.
1. What does DST stand for?
A. Daylight Savings Time
B. Daylight Saving Time
C. Determined Sourgrass Tunnel
2. What parts of the US do not follow DST?
B. Puerto Rico
C. Hawaii and Guam
D. The US Virgin Islands and American Samoa
E. All of the above
3. For what purpose was DST first instituted?
A. As a means to help farmers
B. As a safety measure during WWII to facilitate blackouts.
C. As a health measure to guard against heart attacks.
D. As an energy measure during WWI to save fuel
Ready for the answers?
The answers are 1-B, 2-E, and 3-D (BED, makes it easier)
I know. I thought it was Daylight Savings Time too. I also thought it was supposed to help farmers.
I’ve learned a lot preparing for today’s blog. And I am encouraged. You see, ever since my two Peace Corps years in Kazakhstan where President Nursultan Nazarbayev did away with DST in his country with just a flick of his pen, I’ve been wondering why America doesn’t do the same thing.
Actually, because we live in a democracy — and one whose lawmakers rely on special interest groups for their information (and their money; sorry, I digress) — it’s not so easy to just do away with it. As we all know by now, democracy is not very efficient. I’m not knocking it, mind you. Just saying …
So, I wondered who would these special interests be? Who benefits from DST?
Before today’s post, I assumed it would be the farmers. I can still remember one of my high school teachers telling us that DST would enable farmers to have more daylight for their harvest. I’ve learned differently.
And, before today’s post, I thought probably DST saves energy, given that the U.S. extended DST during the energy crisis of 1973-74 (I remember that too). Wrong again.
I also figured it must be popular among the majority for it to still be around. Guess what?
To learn more about DST, I turned to the Internet.
My first stop was an article from National Geographic magazine of November 3, 2013 entitled Time to Move On? The Case Against Daylight Saving Time (by Brian Handwerk).
from which I learned the following
- DST “doesn’t save us money or energy.”
- DST first began during WWI as an energy saving measure, but today, in “any place that has air conditioning, … daylight saving is a loser.”
- Arizona (except for residents of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands ignore DST.
- Fewer than 40% of Americans surveyed think DST is worth the hassle.
- Over the past 50 years, DST has been stretched from six months to seven months to now eight months in part because several industries have been huge supporters.
- Economics have always played a role in the politics of DST. In the mid-1980s, for example, the golf industry estimated that an extra month of DST was worth $200 to $400 million.
Golf? Really? What other industries benefit, I wondered? Then I read:
- During that one extra month of DST, the U.S. barbecue industry pegged their increased profits at $150 million.
That figures. More time for barbecues.
- Daylight saving reliably increases the amount of driving that Americans do, and gasoline consumption tracks up with daylight saving.
- Oil and auto industries have always been big supporters of DST
These are all quotes from the article. I didn’t make any of this up. Honest.
That’s who’s lined up advocating for DST: golfers, barbecuers, and the oil and auto industries.
But there’s an organized opposition to DST, too.
- The farmers want an end to DST, particularly the dairy farmers. Seems their cows are a bit put out with the time change.
- Teachers do too (officially, the PTA, so maybe it’s more the parents).
- And quite a few religious groups (particularly orthodox ones) whose prayer schedule is based on the sun not the clock.
- The TV industry is also opposed to DST. The most popular shows, according to the Nielsen ratings, go down by 10 – 15 percent in viewership during the first week of DST.
- The Obama White House tried a petition to end DST, but it stalled because it failed to garner the required number of signatures.
There’s an economic downside from DST for the majority of us, too. Here’s a quote from research done at the University of Utah:
The simple but inconvenient act of changing America’s clocks and devices back and forth represents an annual $1.7 billion of lost opportunity cost. This was based on the average American’s hourly wage and an assumption that each person spent some ten minutes changing clocks, watches, and other devices—time that could have been far more productively spent.
Then there’s the medical piece. Turns out there’s a 10% increase in the number of heart attacks in the few days following DST’s start in the spring.
So, with evidence against DST mounting, I pick up the mantle. But, what can I, one lonely individual, do? Turns out there’s an organization dedicated to ending DST. It’s called End Daylight Saving Time.
Check them out, if you want to join my merry little band of
I’ll add this link from, Daylight Saving Time Redux posted March 11, 2015.
This quote is from The Oregonian, March 9, 2015, in an article by Joseph Rose entitled: 5 reasons why Daylight Saving Time week is dangerous for Portland area commuters
And, if you’re really into reading my rants, here’s the link to the post that gave you John Oliver’s rant on DST, Daylight Savings Time Redux — Again, last March 9, 2016.
Ready to sign the petition? Here’s the link from the End Daylight Saving Time page: Petition2Congress.
See you again in the spring.
So, how about you? What’s your stand on Daylight Saving Time? (please note: I don’t care if we keep DST or EST; I just want to pick one and move on).