Since I live in Arizona, I am one of the lucky few on this planet who doesn’t have to deal with the insanity of Daylight Saving Time (yes, it’s “saving” not “savings”–I looked it up: “Saving is used here as a verbal adjective [a participle]. It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Because of this, it would be more accurate to refer to DST as daylight-saving time.”).
For the rest of you, this past weekend you were compelled to go through the ordeal of changing your clocks, in this case setting them forward an hour.
Perhaps I’m the only one, but I fail to see what possible benefit there is in forcing everyone to alter time twice a year, causing, if not mass confusion, then at least mass irritation across the globe.
I researched the history of this inane practice, trying to come to some understanding of the potential logic behind this lunacy.
Apparently, the concept of changing the clocks in order to extend the daylight hours in the evening was originally voiced by Benjamin Franklin. The idea, as far as I can tell, is to make the most of the daylight hours by having more of them at the end of the day, after people are home from work and school and things. There are several studies citing how Daylight Saving Time saves on energy by cutting down on the usage of lights and electronics in the evening, while encouraging commerce and social activities. The theory is that the amount of extra energy used in the morning is far off-set by the energy saved in the evening. (For more, read this article.) Another cited reason is public safety, the idea being that pedestrians out walking in the evening are less likely to get hit by vehicles if it is still daylight.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly (to me, at least), is that there are other studies proving exactly the opposite of the reasons for Daylight Saving. The risk in the early morning of children walking to school getting hit is higher. In the weeks following the time change in the fall, when people are adjusting to the change, the rate of pedestrian/vehicle accidents in the evening increases significantly, so while prehaps reasonable to say extended daylight hours helps, the problems caused by forcing people switch back and forth more than negates any benefit.
When there is more daylight in the evening when people are home, there is more heat from the sun, and people use more air conditioning, which uses significantly more energy overall. Moreover, while the extended daylight hours may encourage commerce and socializing, those activities use other sources of energy, such as fuel. (This from this article by a dude named Bob Ellis, who mirrors fairly fully my opinion on the matter.)
In Arizona specifically, the added cost of running the air conditioner in the evening adds up to significant costs over the summer. It is largely for this reason (among other economic and practical reasons) that we asked for, and received, an exemption from being forced into conforming to the idocy the rest of the country is compelled to follow. (More on Arizona’s reasons here.)
On a more personal and practical note, I just don’t like it. It’s hard enough to get to church on time, to get to bed on time and get enough sleep, to make appointments and do all the other things a person has to do without having to worry about changing time. “I don’t really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it.” Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.