11 Comments

Have You Saved Any Daylight Today?

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.

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About Avily Jerome

Avily Jerome is a writer and the editor of Havok Magazine. Her short stories have been published in various magazines, both print and digital. She has judged several writing contests and is a writing conference teacher and presenter. She writes speculative fiction, her ideas ranging from almost-real-world action/adventures to epic fantasies to supernatural thrillers.

11 comments on “Have You Saved Any Daylight Today?

  1. Avily, You hit the nail on the head!

    I did not grow up with DST since we lived overseas for most of my growing-up years in an equatorial country. The largest variation in daylight hours available to us was somewhere around a 1/2 hour extra. I had reason to be thankful though I can’t say I ever considered this particular reason as one of high importance. Then…

    But I came back to the States and the DST insanity inflicted itself on me much against my wishes or feelings in the matter.

    This past weekend, the topic of why we have DST came up, and I growled something very nasty about bureaucrats (beginning with “idiot bureaucrats,” and going on in a tone that left no doubt of my opinion on the matter). Dad gave me this concerned look and wondered aloud if I’d had trouble sleeping? Well, no, I hadn’t. I just hadn’t gotten enough!

    I’ve readjusted now, and am back to my more congenial appreciation of life. I thought about blogging about my feelings on this subject but didn’t want to frighten anyone while I was in cranky mode, so I didn’t.

    You’ve written a nice post about the problem and stated it very concisely. Thank you.

  2. I love DST, mostly because my body does it naturally. As we approach the vernal equinox, I wake up earlier each morning anyway, so an official time change doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I have more trouble with the “fall back” part. But I also believe the farther our tech takes us from a natural rhythmic cycle, such as cities that never sleep, everything about us suffers. I prefer to be awake when the sun is up and asleep when the sun is down. I try to life my life that way.

    However, reading the history as you’ve written it here, something I’ve never cared to explore, you’re right. This is like forced vaccinations or universal health care – a government imposition on personal freedom. We accept it and grumble because we think we must.

    Hmm. New thoughts today. Thanks!

  3. This morning I am up way too late. Same as yesterday. I do not like change for change sake. To me, there should always be a logical reason for it. DSL is not logical or economical.
    Thanks for sharing and allowing me to rant a bit with you. 😀

  4. I know not ONE person who thinks DST makes sense.

    This was interesting to read, especially coming from someone who doesn’t have to abide by this ridiculous system. Cool post, Avily :).

  5. I agree we shouldn’t go back and forth. Let’s leave it how it is right now. Forever. I love the light in the evening and get terribly depressed in fall when we go on Standard. So let’s ABOLISH STANDARD, NOT DST. And when someone says we have to give the hour back (hogwash!) then let’s just do it for one day, like say, Christmas. There’s a happy day that I don’t care if it gets dark early. But personally, I say we should just stay on DST all the time. And if the kids have trouble because it’s too dark in the morning, then why doesn’t the school board just say school starts at 9 instead of 8? So they get out at 3:30 instead of 2:30. So what? They’ll still get time to play because it’s actually light until 6 instead of 5.

    • I would have no problem with such a solution. I know many people who enjoy the lighter evening hours, so if a consensus were reached to have DST year-round, that would make sense to me. It’s the switching that is obnoxious. 🙂

  6. Thanks for your comments, everyone! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it!

  7. I like it in the Fall because I can sleep an extra hour. Why we ever change it again in the Spring is a mystery to me because I hate losing an hour of sleep. Ehg. 😉

  8. Dearest Avily,

    I also enjoy the longer daylight, in the winter their never seems to be enough daylight..

  9. Sundials! We need sundials!

    The reason standard time is “standard” is because it’s what you get with a sundial. Shadows are shortest at noon. Come noon on the summer solstice, let’s all recalibrate the clocks and then leave them the @#$% alone.

    (I have always been passionately anti-DST, but never more so than one midsummer when my child decided it couldn’t possibly be bedtime (9 p.m.) because the sun was still up. Grrrrr.)

    Sundials. Lots and lots of sundials.

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