Spring Ahead

March 12, 2013

March 10th at 2am, we sprung ahead one hour. Daylight Savings Time is nearly upon us. “DST” is a way of making better use of the daylight hours by setting the clocks forward one hour in the spring and then back again in the fall. Do you believe this is a good practice or not worth the hassle for one extra hour of evening daylight during the warmer months?

There are different schools of thought on this practice. Some studies report that DST saves energy, but you can find just as many studies that report it does not. Some people say the loss of that one-hour of sleep affects their health, mood and body clocks. However, many appreciate the extra hour of daylight in the summer to accomplish outdoor chores and activities after the work or school day such as yard work, evening exercise and social pursuits. Perhaps DST can even boost tourism because of the potential increase in evening outdoor activities.

DST does bring up safety concerns for the early morning, especially for children walking to school or waiting at a dark bus stop. Farming groups have also expressed anti-DST views, saying that it has an adverse impact on rural families, businesses and communities.

Did you know that not all areas of the world observe DST? Did you know that some areas right here in the continental US do not observe DST? Most of Arizona, except for the Navajo Nation community, is run on Mountain Standard Time all year long. Until 2006 some parts of Indiana did not observe DST either. 

It was Benjamin Franklin who is widely credited with first suggesting a form of  DST in 1784. The practice was adopted by the US, Europe and other countries off and on from 1916 to 1966. But it was the Uniform Time Act of 1966 that provided the basic framework for DST. Congress has been tinkering with it ever since, making changes over the years. Most recently, in 2007, The United States, Canada and some other countries extended DST. While it gave us that extra hour of evening daylight for 4 more weeks each year, it cost US companies billions to reset automated equipment and it put us further out of sync with Asia and Africa time-wise. 

Senator Darren Soto on Friday, Feb. 8th, filed a bill (SB 734) that would mandate Florida keep its clock in daylight-saving time year-round. The bill known as the “Sunshine Protection Act”. Soto has little hope his bill will get passed this year but said he wants to start a discussion about daylight-saving time.

Whether you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea; whether you think DST is beneficial or detrimental, it seems that it’s here to stay in one form or another.

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