Should We Cancel Daylight Saving Time?
It’s one of those debates that arises at the same time each year, like whether we should still celebrate Columbus Day, or what it’s still okay to wear as a Halloween costume. This weekend, like every March, thousands of groggy Americans will wonder, “Why do we even still have daylight saving?”
Questioning the wisdom of daylight saving time is not new. It’s almost inevitable, as only 70 countries around the world observe it, and not even all 50 U.S. states! (Arizona and Hawaii opt out.) Even John Oliver, patron saint of explaining silly things, dedicated a segment to the tradition last year.
But according to many experts, DST isn’t going anywhere soon. So what do campaigners hope to change this year — or ever?
A Century of Falling Back
Contrary to a popular misconception, daylight saving was not created for the benefit of farmers. It’s actually an energy conservation strategy that dates back to World War I. In April 1916, Germany became the first country to set its clocks one hour forward, in hopes of minimizing the cost of artificial lighting and saving fuel for the war effort. The U.K., France and the U.S. all soon followed suit.
America canceled the time change just seven months later, although some cities like New York and Boston continued the convention. And in 1942, another wartime president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, once again reinstated it across the country.
Daylight saving as we know it was established by the Uniform Time Act of Congress in 1966, which set its parameters from April to October. “This strikes me like the last time we had a sensible compromise on the DST issue,” Michael Downing, the author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, told The Huffington Post. “What —> Read More