I wasn’t sure whose idea Daylight savings time (DST) was, so I looked it up.
Most folks think it was Ben Franklin, but it wasn’t.
It was a New Zealand entomologist named George Hudson. He recommended it in his country long after Ben had left us.
I was hoping that I could hunt George down and ask him to call it off, but I waited too long. He died in 1946.
Good old Mr. Hudson came up with the concept in 1895. But we can’t exactly blame him. His idea was just that – an idea. It wasn’t adopted.
In the early 1900s, a British builder named William Willet argued for adjusting the time until he died in 1915. But he didn’t succeed any better than George.
It was the Germans who finally adopted the time change during WWI, as a means of conserving energy.
Ever since, some places around the world move the time ahead one hour the second Sunday of March and back one hour the first Sunday in November.
I say some because not everyone changes the time. Those who live near the equator typically leave their Timex where it is. Where they live, changing the time doesn’t matter because the sunrises don’t vary much.
People in Alaska and other far northern areas have unusual seasons which really negates the need for Daylight savings time.
According to National Geographic, 80% of the world does not use Daylight savings time.
In the US, Hawaii and most of Arizona don’t observe it, and other states are considering ditching it.
So, other than losing an hour of sleep each spring and gaining one in the fall, why do most Americans have to endure a time change?
The reason cited most often (farming) is a myth. When America adopted DST in 1918, most farmers were against it. Cows don’t have clocks. Farming goes on regardless of the time.
The reason cited by old George was that if we moved clocks ahead in the spring and back in the fall, we’d have more sunlight in the summer.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the universe works. We don’t actually get more sunlight, but changing what our clocks say makes it seem so.
And the German’s idea about conserving energy? America thought we’d get the same benefit. However, there are a lot of contradictions about that. Some information shows the opposite.
There is data that shows we have more heart attacks and car fatalities during time changes.
Both, I’m guessing, could be related to oversleeping because you forgot to reset your alarm clock and rushed out to work in the dark.
So, here’s my proposal: Let’s get rid of moving the clock back and forth.
©2019 John Moore
John’s book, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, and his new book, Write of Passage Volume II, is now available on Amazon. You can reach John through his website at www.TheCountryWriter.com.