Daylight Saving Time, Redux (x3)

Yes, it’s that time again. And, since WP once again won’t let me add photos (nor will it let me add tags), I’m rerunning this post from three years ago.  It’s pretty much covers all the necessary territory (and then some).

 

Thanks to Pinterest for the image.

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.

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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?

A. Arizona
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 revolutionaries  reformers.

 

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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 DSTDaylight 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). 

18 Responses

  1. Merril Smith
    | Reply

    I’m with you Janet, that I don’t care which one we have, I just don’t like the changing back and forth. It takes me quite a while to adjust.
    Merril Smith recently posted…All We Need to KnowMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Did you sign the petition? I just did it again. It’s not really a petition this year. Turns out they hook it directly to your own Members of Congress and the WH. But, can’t hurt to add more names. Thanks for starting us off bright and early, Merril.

  2. irene salazar
    | Reply

    Daylight time year round. More light, later, in winter helps my seasonal affective disorder. Or, barring that, no DST. I hate the Chang, and short evenings are suddenly worse just as days shorten.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes indeed. It’s the CHANGE that does us in. Of course no matter what the clock says, we still have the same number of hours of daylight each day. I hope you’ll be sure to sign that petition I linked to at the very end. I’m glad you joined us today, Irene.

  3. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    I wish Obama’s petition would have garnered more support. Just the time change itself throws our biorhymthms off. I’ll speak for the cows here too. Often there’s a spike in traffics accidents in the days following the switch, both spring and fall.

    However, I do look forward to more light in the mornings soon, at least temporarily. Great research, Janet!
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Do Real Men Wear Aprons?My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      The research does accumulate over the years. I’ve been getting up at dawn the past few months anyway, so I’m not sure how the time change will affect that. My chickens may get confused though. Loved your latest post!

  4. Carol Bodensteiner
    | Reply

    I’m for DST year around.

    It’s true the time change would upset cows. My dad adjusted our milking schedule rather than try to change the cows.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes indeed, Carol. I guess that’s exactly why the farmers have organized against DST. I’m curious if your dad ever commented on it back then? We just accepted so much of our lives in the ’50s, I’m thinking.

  5. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Janet — me too, me three, me four! I don’t care which one we have, just pick one and stick with it!
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted…Vampire SlayerMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Welcome to the revolution, Laurie. I hope you’ll visit the Petition2Congress link and sign on. 🙂

  6. Carolyn
    | Reply

    No more DST – stop having to faff around with all the clocks twice a year. It clearly doesn’t benefit farming – it gave us great problems with our chickens and dog kennels too. I also fail to see the arguments about coming home in the dark when it seems more dangerous to me to drive in the dark in the morning when people are less likely to be alert.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      “Faff around” — a new term for me and I love it. I may try to work it into my vocabulary. (Hope it’s not a typo). Thanks for joining us.

  7. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    Janet, an interesting post, particularly (but not surprisingly), the extent to which industry interests influence even our clocks. That, alone, makes me cringe, although to be honest, I’m not sure I have a passionate or well-formed view about this. I do experience some SAD symptoms each year around this time, although I’m not sure it’s due so much to the changing of the clocks as it is simply the shortening of the days. Being on the western edge of a time zone near the 45th parallel, we tend to enjoy particularly long days in summer, and short ones in winter, regardless. I’m filing this under “requires further reflection.”
    Tim Fearnside recently posted…The Other Men and Women Who Fought and Died for FreedomMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      The National Geographic article, written before Murdoch bought them out, is filled with links to the research. I found it a good place to start.

      I think too I get a certain pleasure out of fomenting revolution over something so RELATIVELY benign. It gives me a good distraction from the more tragic happenings in my political world of late. This one is fun and lord knows we all need fun in our lives, particularly as the cold dark winter looms ahead.

      On another note, I’ve often wondered why tanning booths couldn’t incorporate those SAD lights into their systems. Guard your emotional health as you work on your tan. A win-win.
      Thanks for stopping by, Tim.

  8. Kathleen Pooler
    | Reply

    I’m with you, Janet. Keep it the same all year. Thanks for your very enlightening post. And all these years I thought we were helping the farmers.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes Kathy. That was a real surprise to me too. That and the singular SAVING. Still sounds odd though.

      I hope you’ve checked out the Petition2Congress link I ended with. Every voice counts.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Daylight Saving Time, Redux(2)My Profile

  9. […] Here’s last year’s November 1 rant for anyone who missed it. […]

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