Daylight savings time is archaic and has no business being implemented in our society. It is not a natural solution to save energy or conserve resources, in fact it does the opposite.
Every year, we turn our clocks forward in March and backwards in November. By doing this, we change our natural rhythms and sleeping schedules. Does anybody know why we actually go through this process?
With over 70 countries using daylight savings time, there must be a good reason for us to be spinning our clocks back and forth every year. The answer is that there might have been 75 years ago.
Daylight savings time was introduced by the Germans in WWI to save energy, and the allied powers followed suit. The reasoning behind it was that the more sunlight there is in a day, the less oil would be burned when it gets dark. The idea was introduced again in WWII by Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) for the same reason and still exists to this day.
Daylight savings time as we know it today serves a purpose not of conservation, but of increased consumption.
In 2005, George Bush passed the Energy Policy Act, which changed the dates of the clock resets, effectively giving us eight whole months of daylight savings. The manipulation of time by our government is due to the joint lobbying effort of retailers in Washington to give consumers some extra time to go shopping after work. The more daylight there is, the more money is being spent.
A study by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that daylight savings time cuts one percent of electricity usage every year, and what we save in electricity usage is negated by increased use of heat and air conditioning. There was a study done by The National Bureau of Economic Research that shows that in Southern Indiana, energy usage has not changed after daylight savings time was implemented, in fact it has increased energy consumption because of the increase in human activity. The more hours of the day there are, the more we tend to drive and use gasoline, which increases carbon emissions.
In these winter months, it’s not uncommon for 5:00 p.m. to feel like midnight and 7 a.m. to feel like midnight, and that’s partly because our bodies have their own biological clocks and by making social changes to time, it confuses our circadian rhythms.
The negative health effects of daylight savings time are considerable too. A swedish study in 2008 showed that within three weeks after turning the clocks back, heart attacks and fatal car crashes saw a 40 percent spike. These incidents occur because of the population losing an hour of sleep.
There is a recurring theme of presidents increasing our daylight savings. FDR, Wilson, Nixon, Johnson and Reagan all made the bi-partisan effort to manipulate our watches. Presidents like Reagan and Johnson introduced moderate time changes, but since then, Washington was looking for ways to increase daylight savings time as much as possible.
The Energy Policy Act was implemented under the guise of increased energy conservation, but it should have been presented with it’s true purpose of keeping consumers going to the mall and buying as much as possible. Time is not something that can be so easily manipulated without repercussion. We should adapt to the cycle of the Earth by accepting the natural changes in sunlight for a healthier, more wholesome lifestyle.
Marc Apesos can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org