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The scoop on Daylight Savings Time

By Staff
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
By now you know that our Daylight Savings Time kicked in last weekend. What I wanted to know was why on earth do we play with the clocks in the first place? Unless, I’m seriously mistaken, no matter how it’s cut there is still only 24 hours in a day.
Nevertheless, the powers that be say we will set our clocks ahead by one hour the second Sunday in March.
Actually the United States isn’t the only country that observes DST (daylight saving time), in fact most of Canada, Europe, Australia, and about half of South America observe DST. Benjamin Franklin was actually the first to suggest its usage when he was an envoy to France. He noted if Parisians would get up with the sunlight and sleep when it was dark they would save millions of pounds of candle wax.
However, it was Englishman William Willett that truly invented DST in 1905. He was an avid golfer and disliked cutting his round short in the evenings. He lobbied for years to institute it, but died before ever seeing it go into effect. It wasn’t until World War I that DST was used. The United States adopted the practice in 1918.
OK, fine. I still want to know why. Well according to the information I looked up on the internet, DST is done for our health, safety, economics, and generally the well-being of us all.
Um, yeah, right. One of the first reasons given for DST is that it allows more evening light giving people who work a chance to get out and be active in the evenings.
Well, I’ll admit it does help when it comes to sports practices and such. However, if I’m not mistaken the daylight is getting longer anyway so it really doesn’t make a big difference. I’m just wondering if someone out there sits and waits for DST to “get active.” I seriously doubt that people who aren’t active will become active because of a one hour shift in our clocks. I can see the point that more sunlight does help people with a vitamin D deficiency and it also helps people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
Of course, there is research that shows that the one hour shift can also be detrimental to some people. For example, there are those that have a terrible time adjusting to the shift and suffer for weeks before their bodies adjust to the change. In fact, the government of Kazakhstan eliminated the use of DST saying it created health issues.
Other positive reasons sited for the use of DST are the reduction of traffic fatalities and the reduction of violent crime. However, the jury is still out on whether or not those studies were accurate. DST is also used by fire safety officials to remind us to change our batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
What I found most interesting was the original goal of DST was to save energy. However, studies have shown no significant savings. In fact, a study conducted in Indiana after they instituted DST in 2006 showed a increase energy usage of 1 to 4 percent mostly due to air conditioning costs. Imagine, that!
A government program that doesn’t work. There’s a real surprise for you.
So why do we still use it? There is one thing that DST does do. It increases the revenues of companies like 7-eleven, sporting goods retailers, and other retailers by providing consumers an extra hour of daylight to shop. In the 1980’s and again 2007 it was retailers that funded the lobbyists that supported extending DST.
Obviously, they were successful. Yippee for them.
If you have a question or comment for Mom’s Corner, please e-mail it to: moms-corner@juno.com

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