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Daylight Saving Time in Texas: A Brief History of Cause and Effect

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Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the term given to the practice of moving our clocks ahead by one hour for the summer months, in order that evening daylight lasts for an additional hour, and in return sacrificing morning sunrise times. Typically, in regions that recognize it, it takes effect close to the commencement of the springtime season and gets adjusted backwards by an hour in the fall to standard time. In Texas, we presently recognize this process, and so officially, on March 12 at 2 a.m., we’ll turn our clocks forward by one hour to then read 3 a.m.

Daylight Saving Time in Texas: A Brief History of Cause and Effect

Photo: Pixabay

A form of this process was first proposed in 1784 by U.S. inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin, who at the time wrote an essay entitled “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” He submitted it somewhat jokingly to the editor of The Journal of Paris, suggesting that Parisians better maximize candle use by getting their population up earlier in the morning, and thereby making more use of the day’s natural light. By 1895, New Zealander George Hudson similarly proposed the idea, but it wasn’t until 1916 that the first countries adopted the process when the German Empire and Austria-Hungary coordinated nationwide implementation. Various other countries, including those in North America, have adopted its use on several occasions since that first coordinated effort, especially on the heels of the 1970’s energy crisis.

Daylight Saving Time in Texas: A Brief History of Cause and Effect
Photo: Flickr/Richard Kramer

The practice of recognizing Daylight Saving Time has both those that appreciate it and those that abhor it. Although putting our clocks ahead benefits activities that use sunlight after standard working hours (being 9 to 5), it can cause problems for those that in farming and other outdoor employment as well as entertainment. Although the original aim was to reduce evening use of energy, the heating and cooling patterns of today coupled with innovations in energy production and use have made it necessary to complete more research on how DST affects energy use today. In the meantime, the practice can often complicate travel, record keeping, billing, sleep patterns, and medical devices, but the later daylight throughout the spring and summer months can lead to improved moods, and the possibility of more vitamin D absorption. So, buck up Texans, and “spring ahead” because they may be debating it at the House, but they haven’t canceled DST yet!

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