Lifestyle

‘Fall Back’ This Weekend: Why Do We Have Daylight Saving Time?

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This weekend, we will all “Fall Back” and set our clocks back an hour on Sunday, November 5. While for some, the extra hour of sleep is a welcome treat, for many, the disruption in our routines is just an annoyance. Why do we observe daylight saving time? Many people assume we enacted DST to help farmers, but that’s not the case.

The U.S. Adopted Daylight Savings Time During WWI

WWI

Photo: Flickr/Visit Flanders

While Benjamin Franklin was one of the first to consider the idea of daylight saving, it wasn’t implemented in the United States until World War I, when the U.S. first adopted daylight-saving time – called “Fast Time,” – in 1918 in support of the war effort.

During World War I, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States all pushed their clocks forward to better coordinate waking hours with light bulb use, thereby conserving electricity. The program lapsed until World War II when President Franklin Roosevelt instituted “War Time Zones,” which were basically the same thing. War Time Zones ceased at the conclusion of the war. Thereafter, time zones defaulted to municipalities until 1966, when Congress enacted a permanent annual Daylight Saving Time, in part to standardize all of the clocks across the nation.

Energy Savings vs. Gasoline Usage

gas pumps

Photo: Flickr/Allie Osmar Siarto

While one of the objects of daylight saving was to save energy, it doesn’t quite work out that way. According to National Geographic magazine, “When you give Americans more light at the end of the day, they really do want to get out of the house. And they go to ballparks, or to the mall and other places, but they don’t walk there. Daylight saving reliably increases the amount of driving that Americans do, and gasoline consumption tracks up with daylight saving.”

The Time Change Can Cause Health Problems

heart attack
Photo: Pixabay

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