Should we end the practice of daylight savings time?

Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-Ending the practice of daylight savings time has been debated for years and has been an issue that Congress has debated since the 1960s. Though Daylight Savings Time (DST) was originally created by the Germans during the First World War to minimize the cost of lighting and fuel during that war, a few other countries followed suit as did the United States, but Americans soon bowed out and didn’t reinstate DST until World War II.

More current Daylight Savings Time programs came under the Uniform Time Act of Congress in 1966 where the months of Daylight Savings were designated as April to October and the push continued until 1975, from a six months period to an eight months time frame. The oil embargo of the 1970s was tied into that change as it was implemented to supposedly save thousands of barrels of oil a day. By 2005, a change in DST policy was implemented through the Energy Policy Act which officially changed DST from April and October to November and March and starting in 2007, the dates were adjusted to extend daylight savings time from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.

Daylight savings time was created to save energy and according to a Department of Energy study, which the Congress required after it implemented the extended daylight savings time, the study was modeled towards energy use changes, such as people going outside during evening hours when there was still sunlight left, which would lessen the use of electricity in the home and save energy. The study also noted that people used more heating during dark mornings and air conditioning during the evening hours when it was still sunny outside. The verdict was that people were using more energy. There was nothing to indicate that extending daylight savings time saved energy or fuel use.

With the actual use of artificial lighting in the sense of the cost of electricity and energy use, this type of lighting has become a lot more economical today, so maintaining daylight savings time for saving energy and electrical costs because of lighting is not a rock solid reason for keeping daylight savings time.

From what the energy study found, it seems that the only advantage of daylight savings time is people wanting to utilize as much time as possible while it is light during evening hours. Even that aspect depends on a person’s location. There may not be a significant difference between daylight in the summer and winter months in a number of areas of the country.

With energy and fuel use costs not being the critical factors they once were, there are other connections with daylight savings time that need to be taken into consideration. There are true health issues due to the time changes and the disruptive effects they have on people’s sleep and wake cycles. It seems that daylight savings has become more of a tradition rather than a necessity. Even American and German researchers have thought that a person’s body clock doesn’t easily adjust to daylight savings time. A University of Munich chronobiologist, Til Roenneerg, feels that daylight savings leads to less productivity, minimizes quality of life, initiates illnesses and exacerbates fatigue.

Since daylight savings time really doesn’t save energy, and there are other indications of its detrimental effects on people in general, daylight savings should be done away with before it is given another extension or adaptation because of some underlying condition in the energy sector or economy. This is one time-honored tradition that Congress needs to end while they put on their thinking caps and come up with a more logical standard time for the entire country.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Every year, the debate begins anew over whether daylight saving time should continue or be abolished. Both sides make their convincing arguments and then, early in March, we set the clocks ahead, only to roll them back again in the fall.

To me, it’s very simple: I like long summer evenings. I like it when sunset in July falls close to 9 p.m. I like sitting on my deck late into the evening while the fireflies come out and the birds make their last forays to the feeders. In the South, those long evenings are frequently the first time all day that it’s suitable for a person of my ponderous size to set foot outside without exploding into a ball of sweat and stench.

Yes, that hour shift causes some minor inconveniences to businesses, and churches have a one-day epidemic of either latecomers or those who arrive early enough for Sunday school even though they didn’t mean to, depending on which time change we’re dealing with. The bars really appreciate the “fall back,” since it officially takes place at 2 a.m. in most places and thus allows them an extra hour of operation.

It seems like most of the folks arguing against the shift are the ones who resent any and all government meddling in their daily business, and while I certainly agree with them in most cases, I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree here.

While you continue the debate, I’ll be cleaning my grill and making sure my margarita fixings are properly stocked for my first spring gathering on the deck.

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-The biggest problem with ending daylight saving time (DST) seems to be that every problem solved by putting an end to DST results in another being created. Those who enjoy evening activities outdoors want to keep DST because daylight lasts an hour longer in prime summer months. But parents of schoolchildren become more concerned because their children walk to school or the school bus in the dark during more of the school year. Farmers tend to prefer standard time because it affords them more light in the mornings for field work. But more energy is used on standard time because nighttime comes earlier and people turn on lights for an extra hour.

While DST may have been a good idea decades ago, society has changed enough that DST is not as crucial as it once was. Those farmers who needed more daylight to work their fields decades ago can now use tractors and combines with headlights that allow them to work day or night. Indoor lighting has become much less costly due to compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs.

Work schedules are more flexible. People who enjoy outdoor activities after work aren’t all cooped up inside from nine to five like they used to be. Many work fewer hours, or p.m. shifts, or have four-day work weeks and can satisfy their desire for outdoor activities without needing DST.

Many more parents drive their children to school now than they did decades ago, and many more high-school students drive themselves to school rather than take the bus, so pedestrian safety is less of an issue.

Although those of us in the northern latitudes may miss the joys of watching the sun go down at 9:30 or later on a balmy June evening, the sun still sets regardless of whether it’s 8:30 or 9:30. The time we assign to that moment will always be arbitrary. It’s tim

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