Sunday, March 12, 2017

What is up with Daylight Savings Time

Good Morning!

This morning we celebrated (whether we wanted to or not) Daylight Savings Time. I have been that person that walked in to church on a Daylight Savings morning just to catch the last few minutes of the service. So it can't be totally wrong that I enjoy watching other people walk into the end of the service and only then realize that they forgot to set their clocks ahead an hour.

In the past, I had always just accepted Daylight Savings Time ("DST") as a construct to give farmers more daylight hours to work with and that was all the explanation I needed. I have friends in Phoenix Arizona who giggle at all this DST silliness because they have abandoned the process long ago and keep their clocks set at the same time all year round.

This morning, as I reset the one clock left in the house that does not reset itself, I began to wonder what was really up with Daylight Savings Time.  I opened another tab on the browser and headed on over to the DST wiki page. It's long and filled with information that suggests it may have started with Benjamin Franklin. But as I read through it one thing became clear. Daylight Savings Time has always been about Climate Change!

Over time scientists have pondered about the Ice Age and Global Warming vs. Global Cooling but I thought the whole Global Warming conversation started in earnest with Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth. And I would be wrong. It turns out that Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings to the French as a way to reduce the amount of candles being burned at night. And Germany adopted DST in 1916 to reduce coal use. (That may have had more to do with a coal shortage that was occuring because of World War 1 but I'm lumping that in to the Global Warming column).

It seems that the impetus for DST was energy conservation. But, according to the wiki page listing a number of studies from around the world, energy consumption ( counterintuitively ) often goes up. Which brings us right back to - Daylight Savings Time: What is Up With That?

Do we even still really need Daylight Savings Time? Russia canceled DST beginning in 2011 but switched back after 2014 because of so many complaints.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere there are serious benefits of returning home from work while it is still light out. There is something that just de-energizes you when you go to work in the dark and return home from work in the dark. Having a little time on the back patio in the sunlight after work is very calming.

So just remember, this morning when you Sprung Forward, you did your part to help prevent Global Warming (at least idealistically speaking).

Happy Springtime!