DST

November 05, 2022

Tomorrow morning, we will witness (if you are awake) the progress of another piece of legislation.  Daylight Saving Time (DST) 2022 ends this Sunday, November 6, at 2 am.  While I bemoan the loss of an hour’s sleep in March (I could go to bed earlier, but why?), I never seem to make up that hour in November.  By November the memory is long gone and all I can think of is how to fritter away the extra hour I have been given.  I must not be the only one, as I generally find someone arriving an hour late to Sunday morning appointments, but rarely have anyone arrive an hour early.  Somehow, gaining an extra hour is easier to remember than losing one.

When I looked online, I found Daylight Saving Time (DST), begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday of November.  Clocks are on “standard time” the rest of the year.  This time change, also referred to as daylight savings time or simply daylight time (US, Canada, and Australia), and summer time (United Kingdom, European Union, and others), is the practice of advancing clocks (typically by one hour) during warmer months so that darkness falls at a later clock time.  The typical implementation of DST is to set clocks forward by one hour in the spring (“spring forward”), and to set clocks back by one hour in autumn (“fall back”) to return to standard time.  As a result, there is one 23-hour day in late winter or early spring and one 25-hour day in autumn. 

The idea of aligning waking hours to daylight hours to conserve candles was first proposed in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin.  In a satirical letter to the editor of The Journal of Paris, Franklin suggested waking up earlier in the summer would economize on candle usage, and he even calculated the considerable savings.  In 1895, New Zealand entomologist and astronomer George Hudson proposed the idea of changing clocks by two hours every spring to the Wellington Philosophical Society.  In 1907, British resident William Willett presented the idea to save energy.  After serious consideration, it was not implemented.  In 1908, Port Arthur in Ontario, Canada, started using DST.  Starting on April 30, 1916, the German Empire and Austria-Hungary each organized the first nationwide implementation of DST and many countries have used DST at various times since.  DST is generally not observed near the Equator, where sunrise and sunset times do not vary enough to justify it.  The US observes DST, except for the states of Hawaii and Arizona (within the latter, however, the Navajo Nation does observe it, conforming to federal practice).  Only a minority of the world’s population uses DST, and Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and the Caribbean generally do not.

THOUGHTS:  In March, the US Senate approved a bill known as the Sunshine Protection Act to make DST permanent nationwide.  The legislation stalled in the House, which has not yet scheduled a debate.  “I can’t say it’s a priority,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told The Hill earlier this year. “We have so many other priorities, but it doesn’t mean because it’s not a priority that we’re not trying to work on it.  We are.”  The end of daylight saving time is not the most pressing problem in the US.  Still, it is something to talk about, complain about, and must generally deal with.  Scott Prunty of Clyde, Ohio, provided the most sensible advice, “Accept that it’s out of your control and move along.”  This could be said for many of life’s “thorny problems”.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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