My Bi-Annual Daylight Saving Time Rant (yawn)

 

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While wandering around the Internet looking for that pleasant little visual, I stumbled across this fun, headline:

. . . the best way to prevent death by Daylight Saving Time may be to make it permanent, according to Standard Time abolitionists.

Death by Daylight Saving Time?

You heard (read?) right. Yes.  Portlanders are on a roll. This quote 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 gives the gist:

Advocates of perpetual DST have some statistics on their side. Adding an hour of sunlight in the evening year-round would save the lives of more than 170 pedestrians annually, according to a 2004 study in Accident Analysis and Prevention. The lives of nearly 200 vehicle occupants would also theoretically be saved by the change.

 

[learn_more caption=”Here’s that short quiz I keep using.”] 1. What does DST stand for?

A.  Daylight Savings Time
B.  Daylight Saving Time

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? (drum roll  . . . )

 

The answers are 1-B, 2-E, and 3-D  (BED) [/learn_more]

 

 

Ever since my Peace Corps years in Kazakhstan (2004-2006) when 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, given we’ve got special interests lined up advocating for their interests, I wondered who  would these special interests be lining up to defend Daylight Saving Time? Who benefits from changing the clocks an hour twice a year? For it’s certainly not me.  Or you, I imagine. 

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 a longer time for their harvest. And, given that the U.S. extended DST during the energy crisis of 1973-74 (I remember that too), I thought probably DST saves energy. I also figured it must be popular among the majority for it to still be around.

Back in 2013, when I first began these DST rants, I turned to the Internet for verification. And I found out I was wrong on all counts.

My first stop was an article from National Geographic magazine of November 3, 2013 from which I learned the following

  • DST saves us neither money nor energy. First begun during WWI as energy saving measure, today, in “any place that has air conditioning, … daylight saving is a loser.”
  • Fewer than 40% of  Americans surveyed think DST is worth the hassle.
  • Arizona—except for residents of the Navajo Nation—Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands ignore DST.
  • 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 daylight saving time. In the mid-1980s, for example, the golf industry estimated that an extra month of DST was worth $200 to $400 million.

Golf?  How many Americans play golf?  What other industries benefit, I wondered. Then read:

During that same time (one extra month of DST), the U.S. barbecue industry pegged their increased profits at $150 million for that same additional month. [sic]

That figures. More time for barbeques.

  • 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.

So, that’s who is lined up advocating for DST:  golfers, barbequers, and the oil and auto industries.

There’s an organized opposition to Daylight Savings Time too.

Not nearly as well-heeled as the pro-siders, but it turns out the farmers want an end to this biannual clock change, particularly the dairy farmers. Seems their cows are a bit put out with the time change.

Quite a few religious groups (particularly orthodox ones) whose prayer schedule is also based on the sun not the clock wish it would go away.

Teachers (officially, the PTA, so maybe it’s more the parents) want to see an end.

The TV industry is 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. I imagine they wouldn’t care if we did DST all year or not, just so we didn’t touch the clock.

The Obama White House tried to do away with it too, but failed to get the required number of signatures. Too bad I didn’t hear of it.  I’d have gone door to door!

Researchers at the University of Utah came up with an impressive economic downside from Daylight Saving Time.

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. Fortunately, I hasten to add, there’s a 10% decrease in them once it’s over in the fall.

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.

So, how about you?  What’s your stand on Daylight Saving Time?  

NEXT WEEK:  Another look back 50 years. What will we see?

41 Responses

  1. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    Let’s abolish it, I say. It jars our systems, puts our bodies out of sync. I’ve heard the “farmer” myth when I was a child, but farmers don’t actually support it.

    I’ve also heard that more auto accidents occur (maybe heart attacks too), the Monday morning after the time change. Cliff will be traveling into the Central Time Zone this weekend, so no time change for him, lucky man.

    If there is a topic to be explored extensively, you are The Woman. Great job!
    Marian Beaman recently posted…The Tricky Mind: Writers’ True ConfessionsMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Marian,

      I thank you for the compliment, Marian. One of the different workshops I took early on asked us to think about the role we saw ourselves in as bloggers: entertainer, journalist, academic, professor, and one other that escapes me. I think it was a Jeff Goins workshop, if anyone else might recall. I thought for a while that journalist was my role — Find a story idea, research it, and publish it. No boss standing over me giving me city council meeting assignments. There’s a bit of the academic and the professor (not sure how they are different; I don’t seem to have those notes any longer) in me still, a teacher of sorts, but I don’t really identify with them any longer. I tend more to want to challenge, to ennoble, to enlarge. Challenger; I’ll take that one. I’m certainly challenging me these days.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Bi-Annual Daylight Saving Time Rant (yawn)My Profile

  2. Merril Smith
    | Reply

    I wish we’d stay at either Standard or Daylight Savings Time. I don’t care which one–just stick with it. I’m always thrown off for days after the switch.
    Merril Smith recently posted…Gusts and Buds: HaibunMy Profile

  3. susan scott
    | Reply

    We don’t have DST here in South Africa, and I hope we never do, given the research! Interesting that businesses don’t care for it given their drop in profits. Though the days in summer are long and the winters short I can imagine most of us feeling our systems are out of synch would this come to pass let alone the farmed animals. Thanks Janet, interesting post!
    susan scott recently posted…#WATWB New brooms sweep cleanMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      This is another of those “a good idea at the time” that has long outgrown its usefulness, but people get attached. (kind of like our second amendment?) But somehow I enjoy complaining about this particular issue. There are so many serious issues that demand our attention, at least with this one I can chuckle a bit. Thanks for joining us.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Bi-Annual Daylight Saving Time Rant (yawn)My Profile

  4. Joan Z. Rough
    | Reply

    I’m with Merril. I don’t care which time system we’re on, just have one and stick to it. It usually takes me several weeks to adapt and I hate it.
    Joan Z. Rough recently posted…Making The Best Of Difficult TimesMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Such a crazy problem to have, huh Joan? A great example of how often inertia rules our lives. The majority of Americans (surveyed) hate the time change, yet nothing changes. I’ve learned to not schedule too much during that following week. So, I get a lot of home based stuff done. That silver lining thing again. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Bi-Annual Daylight Saving Time Rant (yawn)My Profile

  5. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    From the Denver Post (as it relates to daylight savings time):

    “Folks in Arizona do not change their clocks at any time of the year. As a wise old Arizona Native American chief once said when daylight saving was explained to him: ‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.'”

    Here’s the link: http://blogs.denverpost.com/eletters/2010/12/10/are-changes-to-daylight-saving-just-a-waste-of-time-6-letters/11412/
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted…Post-Traumatic Enlightenment SummitMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      That was fun to read, Laurie. Thanks. There’s a FB meme floating around with that saying in it. You’ve reminded me I intended to include it. Well, unfortunately, there will yet be another opportunity.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Bi-Annual Daylight Saving Time Rant (yawn)My Profile

  6. Kathleen Pooler
    | Reply

    I’m going to vote with the crowd, Janet, and say let’s stick with one system. I can’t believe we have to turn our clocks ahead this weekend. It seems like we just turned them back!

  7. Carolyn
    | Reply

    I’m another against DST which we suffer in the UK too. Farmers with livestock definitely have problems and I cannot go with the suggestion that the extra light in the evening stops accidents. I think it is worse to drive in the dark in mornings when people may still be a little asleep and thus slow to react. I also dislike the 2-3 days for one’s body to react to the clock changes. Viva UST (Universal Standard Time)

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      What’s the process in the UK, Carolyn, for your people to influence their government? Same as here? (ballot initiatives, referendums, lobbying/special interests, and protests and demonstrations). Or do you rely on your parliament to do the right thing? I’m curious if there’s a UK version of “End DST” like I linked to.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Bi-Annual Daylight Saving Time Rant (yawn)My Profile

  8. Ally Bean
    | Reply

    Your rant resonates with me. I don’t care for DST– not even if there is “More time for barbeques.” 🙄 How much longer do you suppose we will have to put up with DST? Its time is over. [pun intended]
    Ally Bean recently posted…What Ms. Bean The Blogger Said + A Simple Rules Of Life PollMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Ally and welcome. I’m so pleased my post caught your eye. I popped over to see your blog and enjoyed myself grandly. (I have family in Anderson, very liberal too). I took your slogan survey and loved the comical twist on cognitive dissonance (Though I voted for the smarter bean— good play on words). Congrats on your ten years; that’s impressive.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Bi-Annual Daylight Saving Time Rant (yawn)My Profile

  9. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    Janet, while I’m still not sure how passionate I feel about this issue, your bi-annual rant against DST puts a smile on my face. And if big oil is behind it, I can probably get in front of it 🙂
    Tim Fearnside recently posted…One Big LieMy Profile

  10. John rieber
    | Reply

    Great story, lots of great insight about this unnecessary time change!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks, John. Welcome to And So It Goes. I think our blogs may overlap more than we realize. Time will tell.

  11. Allison
    | Reply

    Not a fan! Interestingly, the movement to abolish it seems to be gaining steam. I’ve seen lots of articles about the topic recently.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes, I’ve noticed that too. Hopefully, our little band of revolutionaries will make a difference. Thanks for stopping by. Welcome.

  12. Gael Mueller
    | Reply

    California voted to stay on DST but so far the legislature has not finished with the bill that would enact that proposition. I am confused BUT that would end if one way or the other we could STOP changing the clocks. I could do with one less point of confusion in my life!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      They voted to stay on DST 12 months? I hadn’t heard that. California is so often out in front of the rest of us. They’ve got until next fall to clarify anything. I trust it will go well. Thanks so much, Gael, for calling our attention to this.
      Janet Givens recently posted…An Update on Lindsay de FelizMy Profile

  13. Natalie
    | Reply

    Interesting post, Janet. I don’t think we have any vote on DST in Canada currently. #seniorsalon
    Natalie recently posted…February Wrap-UpMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Natalie, I’m not hearing of too many states or countries where the To-Be-Or-Not-To-Be question is put for DST. That California had one this year was a surprise. But your DST begins the same time our does. So we can all be confused and groggy and grumpy together. Thanks for writing.

  14. Janet, I don’t care whether it’s standard time or daylight saving time, I just wish they’d pick one and go with it all year round! It’s so annoying! 🙂 #EsmeSalon
    Jean | Delightful Repast recently posted…Yorkshire Curd TartMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Oh yes indeed, Jean. That seems to be the consensus of everyone that’s ever commented here. I just keep spreading the word. It’s truly perplexing how it’s survived this long.

  15. Terri Lyon
    | Reply

    I had no idea. Thanks for doing this research. I am in favor of abolishing it because my husband plays ‘time mind games’ so the lost or saved hour is most beneficial. For example, in the fall he would set the clock back on Sunday night so we’d get our extra hour then.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Terri. Does your husband celebrate April Fools Day too? He sounds like quite a character. Thanks for joining in.

  16. […] Though I can’t tell from looking out my window that spring is here, I have smelled it in the air for the past few weeks. And, before DST descended upon us and ruined it, I was in awe of the ever growing amount of sunlight, four minutes at each end of each day makes a discernible difference, one I love.  Alas.  But that story has been done.  […]

  17. Amelia
    | Reply

    I struggled this year like I have never struggled before.

  18. Janet S Morrison
    | Reply

    The change in the time twice-a-year drives me crazy. Any time I save is wasted in trying to remember how to change the time on the digital clock by my bed! Also I have enough trouble sleeping on a regular schedule without having to make this adjustment in the spring and again in the fall.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Janet. So glad to see you here. Welcome. You’ve found my last bi-annual rant (I hope). I’m in the process of talking with a local State Rep who has sponsored legislation to do away with the change here in Vermont. Fingers are crossed. It drives me batty and would be so easy to correct. A few other states are also working toward this, but I understand the Feds must get involved somehow. Fingers crossed even more now. Thanks for adding your voice.

  19. Ellen Hawley
    | Reply

    What on earth makes those economic geniuses think they could make money off the ten minutes I (theoretically) spend resetting the clocks? Grrrrrr.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      That does sound preposterous, agreed, though I imagine they were looking at volume. ‘Course, when I add in my thermostat, my oven, my microwave, and my auto (MY AUTO! THAT TAKES FOREVER ’cause I have to pull out the manual and reread it every time.) my minutes add up to far more than 10. At least I no longer have to change the clocks — they all switch over automatically.

      Glad you have to swing by Ellen.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Spring BreakMy Profile

      • Ellen Hawley
        | Reply

        I save time–lots of time–by not changing the car clock. In six months it’ll be right again. I can wait.

        • Janet Givens
          | Reply

          I do think that would drive me a bit bonkers, Ellen. Surely I’d forget that the clock was off; I’d be driving along and fret at how late I was … or worse, stop for a latte since I obviously had so much extra time.

          I once missed a flight because the watch I was wearing (around my neck, more decorative than functional it turned out) was an hour slow. Actually sat there as everyone boarded and the plane took off. Took five hours to get the next one.
          Janet Givens recently posted…Spring BreakMy Profile

  20. […] MY BI-ANNUAL DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME RANT (YAWN) :|: Janet […]

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