On Sunday, March 12 – 2023, most Americans had to push their clocks forward an hour as daylight saving time began.
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is an age-old practice that has been debated for many years. It is a system where clocks are adjusted an hour ahead in the spring and an hour backward in the fall to increase daylight during the summer months.
The shift to DST is meant to benefit businesses and reduce energy usage, but it also disrupts people’s sleep schedules and can adversely affect health.
As we move closer to 2023, the discussion around the DST implementation will likely become more intense. However, the current system has been criticized for causing accidents, affecting productivity, and even causing depression.
Advocates argue that DST must maintain uniformity across different regions and efficiently use daylight.
Whatever the case, it is essential to examine the pros and cons of DST and determine whether it is a practice that should be continued.
As we prepare for 2023, let us take a closer look at the effects of DST on our lives and make an informed decision about its future.
How Did Daylight Saving Time Start?
Benjamin Franklin takes pride in arising with this concept of resetting clocks within the summer months to conserve energy, consistent with David Prerau, the author of Seize the Daylight – The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005).
As per this system, most people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting just by turning the clocks forward.
When Franklin came up with this idea, he was ambassador to Paris then, so he wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris around 1784, rejoicing over his discovery that the sun provides light as soon as it rises.
Even after that, DST had not officially begun until more than a century later.
Germany established DST around May 1916 to save fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came on board shortly after that. And in around 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time too.
Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI had ended, the country was mostly rural at the time, and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light.
Well, there is a myth that DST was instituted to help farmers. And so daylight saving time was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue.
At the start of WWII, on February 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round; he called it War Time.
After the war, free for all systems in which U.S. states and towns were given a choice if they wanted to observe DST, which led to chaos, and around 1966, to tame such Wild West mayhem, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act.
That federal law meant that any state observing DST, and they didn’t have to jump on the DST bandwagon, had to strictly follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which daylight saving time would begin on the first Sunday of April end on the last Sunday of October.
Then, around 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, which led to expanding the length of daylight saving time to the present time.
Around When Does Daylight Saving Time Start And End?
As per history, daylight saving time (DST) usually begins around summer and ends right before winter. However, the dates have changed over time as the U.S. government has passed new statutes, as per the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO).
The current March to November DST system started in 2007 and usually began in the United States on the second Sunday in March.
The people move their clocks forward an hour at around 2 a.m. local standard time. So, at about 2 a.m. that day, the clocks will read 3 a.m. local daylight time.
Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November when the clocks are moved back an hour at 2 a.m. local daylight time. So they will then read 1 a.m. local standard time.
In 2020, DST began on March 8, and it will end on November 1, when you will have to set the clock back an hour, and the cycle will begin again and again.
Why Do Some Countries Still Have Daylight Saving Time?
According to the research, less than 40% of the world’s countries observe daylight saving time.
So, those who do observe DST take advantage of the natural daylight in the summer evenings. That is because the days start to get longer as Earth moves from the winter season to spring and summer, with the longest day of the year on the summer solstice.
During the summer season in each hemisphere, Earth, which revolves around its axis at an angle, is tilted directly toward the sun.
Regions far from the equator and much closer to the poles get the most advantage from the DST clock change because there is a more dramatic change in sunlight throughout the seasons.
Research has also found that with more daylight in the evenings, there are very few traffic accidents, as fewer cars are on the road when it’s dark outside. More daylight also means more outdoor exercise, or they may get time for a little exercise for full-time workers.
It Saves Energy:
The main reason for daylight saving time has long been to save energy. The time change was first followed in the United States during World War I, and then, later on, it was reinstituted again during World War II as a part of the war effort.
During the Arab oil embargo, when the Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stopped selling petroleum to the United States, Congress even enacted a trial period of year-round daylight saving time to save energy.
But the evidence for energy savings is low. Well, Brighter evenings may save on electric lighting, said Stanton Hadley, a senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who also helped prepare a report to Congress on extended daylight saving time in about 2007.
But as the lights have become increasingly efficient, Hadley said, lighting is responsible for a smaller chunk of total energy consumption than a few years ago. Heating and cooling matter more, and also, some places may need air-conditioning for the longer period, hotter evenings of summer daylight saving time.
Hadley and his colleagues found that the four weeks of extra daylight saving time that went into effect in the United States in 2007 did save some energy, about half a percent of what would have otherwise been used each day. But, Hadley said, the effect of the entire month’s long stretch of daylight saving could have the opposite effect.
A study in Indiana in 1998 shows before and after the implementation of daylight saving time in some counties, found a small increase in residential energy usage. Temporary changes in Australia’s daylight saving timing for the summer Olympics during 2000 also failed to save any energy, a 2007 study found.
Part of the problem with estimating the effect of daylight saving time on energy consumption is that there are so few changes to the policy, which makes before-and-after comparisons tricky, Hadley told Live Science.
The extension 2007 of daylight saving time allowed for a before-and-after comparison of only a few weeks, but the changes in Indiana and Australia were geographically limited.
In the end, Hadley said, the energy question isn’t the real reason the United States sticks with daylight saving time in any way.
In the vast scheme of things, energy saving is not the big driver, he said. People want to take advantage of that light time in the evening.
Which Countries Observe Daylight Saving Time?
Most of the United States and Canada observe Daylight Saving Time on the same dates leaving a few exceptions. According to NASA, Hawaii and Arizona are the two U.S. states that don’t observe daylight saving time, though Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona follows DST.
And also, every year, some bills are put forth to get rid of DST in various states, as only some are looking forward to turning their clocks forward an hour.
In about 2018, Florida’s Senate and House passed the Sunshine Protection Act that asked the U.S. Congress to exempt the state from the federal 1966 Uniform Time Act. If it were approved, Florida would remain in DST year-round.
To allow Florida’s year-round DST, however, the U.S. Congress would have to amend the Uniform Time Act to authorize states this allowance, as per The New York Times.
In about 2018, California voted in favor of Proposition 7, which would attempt to repeal the annual clock changes. After that, the state legislature needs to vote on the proposition, which will be followed by Congress, according to an article on Vox.
Other states have proposed exemptions from the federal time act as well. For example, Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, introduced Senate Bill 206 into the Senate State Administration Committee in February 2017. This might exempt Montana from daylight saving time, keeping the state on standard time year-round per the bill.
Three bills in about 2017 in Texas aimed to abolish DST for good. House Bill 2400, Senate Bill 238, and House Bill 95, according to the broadcast company kxan.
Nebraskans might be off the hook for clock changes as well. In around January 2017, state Sen. Lydia Brasch, a Republican of Bancroft, proposed a bill called LB309 to eliminate daylight saving time in the state, according to the bill.
Also, some British Columbia and Saskatchewan regions keep their clocks the same. These include areas like British Columbia: Charlie Lake, Creston (East Kootenays), Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Taylor; in Saskatchewan, only Creighton and Denare Beach observe DST, as per NASA.
Most European states currently observe daylight saving time, called summer time, which begins at around 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends during winter at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday around October.
But, even the European Union may propose an end to clock changes, as a recent poll had found that 84% of 4.6 million people surveyed said they wanted to nix them, the Wall Street Journal had reported.
According to the WSJ, if most lawmakers and member states agree, the EU members can decide to keep the EU in summer or winter.
According to the U.K. government, the United Kingdom had to move their clocks forward on March 29, 2020, and will move them back to the standard time around October 25.
The countries observing DST in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia, New Zealand, South America, and southern Africa have set their clocks an hour forward sometime during September through November and move them back to standard time during the March-April months.
As Australia is such a big country – the sixth-largest in the world, it doesn’t follow DST uniformly. New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory do follow daylight saving, while Queensland, the Northern Territory (Western Australia) do not follow.
According to the Australian government, the clocks in the observing areas spring forward an hour at about 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in October and push back an hour at 3 a.m. local daylight time on the first Sunday in April.
Russia started year-round daylight saving time around 2011, or what you may call the permanent summer time; it had initially seemed dandy.
But during the winter, sunrise occurred at around 10 a.m. in Moscow and around 11 a.m. in St. Petersburg, said David Prerau, author of Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time – Basic Books, 2009.
So, by this, it meant Russians had to start their days in the cold, in the pitch dark, but the permanent summer is soon ending, as Russian President Vladimir Putin abolished DST in around 2014, according to BBC News. As such, the country will remain in wintertime forever or until another law is passed soon enough to make the changes.
Which States Don’t Observe Daylight Saving Time?
Currently, only two states in the United States do not observe Daylight Saving Time: Arizona and Hawaii. Arizona has opted out of the time change since 1968, and Hawaii since the 1960s.
However, there was a request to Congress to put the entire state of Arizona on daylight saving time in 1969, but after public opposition, the bill was defeated. Today, the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, observes Daylight Saving Time.
In addition, certain United States territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands also do not observe the time change.
Year-round Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time observance may provide health benefits and energy conservation. In contrast, others argue that changes in the time frame negatively affect people’s health and safety.
Myths and Some Facts:
- Before the Uniform Time Act was passed in the United States, there was a period in which any place could or could not observe DST, leading to chaos. For instance, if one took a 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, West Virginia, to Steubenville, Ohio, they would pass through at least seven-time changes, according to Prerau. At some point, Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks.
- A study published in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed that during the week following the spring into DST, most of the mine workers got 40 minutes less sleep and had 5.7% more workplace injuries than they did during any other days the year.
- One thing that will surprise you is that people tend to have more heart attacks on Monday following the spring forward switches to daylight saving time. Researchers who reported in 2014 in the journal Open Heart found that heart attacks increased by 24% on that Monday compared to the daily average number for the weeks surrounding the start of DST.
- The fact that the time changes to 2 a.m., a minimum within the U.S., may need to do with practicality. For example, it’s late enough that most people are home from outings, and setting the clock back an hour won’t switch the date to “yesterday.” Additionally, it’s early enough not to affect early shift workers and early churchgoers, consistent with WebExhibits, an online museum.
- Even Pets notice the time change as well. Since humans set the routines for their fluffy loved ones, the dogs and cats living indoors and even cows are disrupted when, for example, you bring their food an hour late or come to milk them later than usual, according to Alison Holdhus-Small, a research assistant at CSIRO Livestock Industries, who is an Australia-based research and development organization.
The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (also called Summer Time in many places worldwide) is to make better use of daylight.
People change their clock timing during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. All the Countries have different change dates to start with and to end with.