Have you ever wondered, what is Daylight Saving Time? Daylight saving Time or DST is a concept of that emerged centuries back and involves manipulating the time by advancing clocks an hour earlier in the summers and backwards by an hour in the winters so as to utilise an extra hour of sunlight in the summers thereby reducing energy consumption. It usually kicks in on the second Sunday of March when at 2 a.m. local standard time, people advance their clocks by one hour and this ends on the first Sunday in November where clocks are moved backwards by an hour. For Daylight Saving Time, 2017, the protocol started on March 12 and will end on 5th November 2017.
Source: Wall street journal
Benjamin Franklin was the one who conceived this idea of moving the clocks by an hour to save energy but it didn’t gather much applause that time. It was only a century later that Germany adopted this concept during the World War-I as a measure to conserve fuels and this propelled other European nations to follow the suit. It was in 1918, that U.S. implemented Daylight Saving Time. But as the world war came to an end, due to protests from the farmers, it was abolished but again resurfaced with the outbreak of World War –II. After the end of war, the DST led to chaos as some states followed it while some opted out of it. Further, due to lack of uniformity in the procedures followed to observe Daylight Saving Time, in 2007 the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, giving it the final shape and a uniform code of conduct.
How does DayLight Saving Time Works?
For the industrialised societies, the work pattern depends on the clock flow and is strictly in accordance with the movement of the clocks. When during the spring, the clock is moved forward by an hour, it means one who usually wakes at 8:00 A.M. in the morning, will actually be waking up at 7:00 A.M. and one who winds up work at 7:00 P.M. will actually be doing it at 6:00 P.M., so one will be able to avail one more hour of daylight which means more time for exercises, outdoor enjoyment and lesser consumption for lighting. On the other hand, farmers work according to the solar cycle, they lost one hour of morning daylight meaning rushing to markets to sell their produce while dairy animals couldn’t adjust to change in time cycle which affected the dairy production. One can understand this phenomenon this way; if the sun rises at 5 and the markets open at 8:00 in the morning, this means the farmers have three hours to milk the cows and harvest the crops to sell in the market. But if the DST is continued, then the farmers would get up at 5 (according to clocks that time will be 6:00) but they actually get only two hours to finish their work and rush to the markets as the markets will open at 8:00.
Countries following the Daylight Saving Time Scheme:
In U.S. all the states follow Daylight Saving Time except for Hawaii and Arizona. Most of the European nations follow the scheme which begins at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in March and ends at 1 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday in October. In the Southern Hemisphere; Australia, New Zealand, South America and southern Africa follow the DST by forwarding their clocks sometime during September to November and back to the standard time during March-April.
Lobbyists in the favour of Daylight Saving Time:
When it comes to groups in the favour of Daylight Saving Time, then Golf industry and the barbeque Industry are the most prominent names. As Daylight Saving gives one an extra hour for oneself in the daylight, this means the golf industry benefits by reducing the usage of artificial lightings for their sprawling golf courses and saves them millions of dollars. Similar reasons stand out for barbeque industry. The underlining reason for the continuance of Daylight Saving is Economics. As an economy gets one extra hour of daylight, this means more workforce working for extra hours contributing to the growth of the economy. The lobbyists of public health vociferously advocate for Daylight Saving as it improves public health by giving the people an extra hour of daylight in the evening and encouraging them to exercise and walk outside instead of watching TV at home.
Reasons against the continuance of Daylight Saving Time:
- The primary aim of the Daylight Saving Time was to reduce the consumption of fuels for lighting and provide extra daylight time. But this further means people spending more hours at home and so air conditioners and refrigerators which consume more energy lead to more of consumption than the savings.
- As daylight saving time means a shift in the sleep cycle, the worst effect is on those who suffer from sleep disorders reducing their working productivity. According to a study in 2009, the week following the spring forward into DST got mine workers 40 minutes less sleep and increasing the workforce injuries by 5.7%.
- The clock cycle of livestock and animals is highly affected by the implementation of Daylight Saving Time.
- The number of heart attack cases increases during the following of spring forward in Daylight Saving Schemes.
- Not every country or state follows the Daylight Saving Time. So, it leads to chaos when travelling internationally. Even if the two places of travel do follow the Daylight Saving Time Scheme, still the protocols followed might not be consistent.
A myth needs to bust that farmers are not the advocates of Daylight Saving but the retailers and the health industry lobbyists. In this era of energy efficient lighting systems, Daylight Savings Time is an outdated concept with a little value. The ill effects of DST overshadow the little positive effects it has on the lives of the people. Further, as it is not a universal procedure to turn clocks forward and backwards, DST remains a ghost of the past which must not haunt the lives the present.
-by Neraj Naiyar