Why do we insist on keeping this antiquated system that most of the world has abandoned or never had in the first place?
As I viewed a map showing countries that have Daylight Saving Time, I found nearly all of North America and Europe plus Brazil and a small patch in Australia observe DST. Another map at another site showed parts of Asia observing it as well.
DST is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana, and Arizona.
The idea of daylight saving was conceived by Benjamin Franklin while an envoy to Paris in the late 1700s. It took another century before the idea was proposed as a policy.
DST was proposed by George Hudson in 1895 to add more daylight hours to the afternoon and less in the morning hours. It was found that DST benefits retail sales and sports but causes problems for farmers. You can see what won out here.
There was a large section about health benefits/drawbacks but much of the information was inclusive. When you come right down to it, there is a matter of personal preference.
Although the system had an early goal of saving electricity that is less important these days since businesses are running 24/7 and heating and air conditioning are used year-round.
DST was first used by Germany and its WWI allies in 1916 as a way to conserve coal during wartime. The U. S. adopted DST in 1918. In 1919 by popular demand the law was repealed and DST became a local option. Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round DST from 1942 1945. From 1945 1966 there was no federal law so communities made their choice. A law was passed standardizing DST in 1966.
In 1974 President Nixon signed the Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act mandating DST from the beginning of January that year until the beginning of October.
The statistics point to insignificant savings of energy. Oddly enough it is convenience stores that benefit the most from the time switch! Some studies point to an increased consumption of motor fuel when there is DST, but that is variable.
Standard time to change clocks has been the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. That means that the majority of the calendar year is spent on DST.
It has become common practice for fire departments to advocate changing the batteries in smoke detectors when the clocks change. Even that has changed with the hard wiring of those devices into home electrical systems.
Now, as to why farmers do not like DST. Have you ever found an animal that could tell time? When the clocks change, animals do not. Even my pets at home do not adapt well. Although the clocks moved ahead, my animals get up at the same time. It takes close to a month before everything equals out.
My son works a lot more with the animals at this point than I do. I know that he does not change his schedule when the clocks move ahead or go back. It is like the world around changes but at home the schedule stays the same.
Until I married a farmer I did not think about that. I grew up with DST and thought little about it. I knew that the daylight hours increased and decreased but I never thought about the impact that might have on various jobs. It was not until that first year living with my dairy farmer husband that I saw the reality of the situation.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at email@example.com