Aye, aye, aye! It's hard to believe that it is already Fall. Well, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Our brothers and sisters in the Southern Hemisphere are entering their Spring.
With Fall comes the annual changing of the leaves. Kids look forward to Halloween. Summer gardens die back with the first frost of the fall. The lawn mowers and other summer lawn tools are stored away until Spring comes around again.
And then there is Daylight Savings Time. Ugh!
Time is time. It's mankind's attempts to define it that is manmade. That definition exists so that us mere mortals can wrap our tiny little minds around it. To provide some order to that definition of time, as we understand it, man invented clocks and calendars as a way to track the passing of time.
And then, at least for colonial America, Benjamin Franklin had this idea to implement Daylight Savings Time as a way to save on candles and lamp oil. Now, ol' Ben was a wise fellow, and he had a lot of really good ideas and inventions. And, while he didn't invent Daylight Savings Time, he was a proponent for its adoption. On one of his many trips to France, he noticed how Parisians adjusted their schedules to make better use of the available sunlight, thus saving on candles and lamp oil. He even wrote about it. Below is a brief quote from the Franklin Institute:
Daylight saving time--the practice of moving the clock forward one hour--has many critics. Losing an hour of sleep only to wake up to darkness? No thanks. But is Benjamin Franklin to blame for this "invention"?
Daylight saving time is one thing that Franklin did not invent. He merely suggested Parisians change their sleep schedules to save money on candles and lamp oil.
The common misconception comes from a satirical essay he wrote in the spring of 1784 that was published in the Journal de Paris. In the essay, titled "An Economical Project," he writes of the thrifty benefits of daylight versus artificial light. He describes how--when woken by a loud noise at 6 a.m.--he noticed that the sun had already risen.
"Your readers, who with me have never seen any sign of sunshine before noon, and seldom regard the astronomical part of the almanac, will be as much astonished as I was, when they hear of his rising so early; and especially when I assure them, that he gives light as soon as he rises. I am convinced of this. I am certain of my fact. One cannot be more certain of any fact. I saw it with my own eyes."
His conclusions? Rising with the sun would save the citizens of Paris, where he was living at the time, a great deal of money: "An immense sum! That the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles."
Tongue firmly in cheek, Franklin went on to propose regulations to ensure Parisians became early risers:
First. Let a tax be laid of a louis [gold coin] per window, on every window that is provided with shutters to keep out the light of the sun.
Second ... Let guards be placed in the shops of the wax and tallow chandlers, and no family be permitted to be supplied with more than one pound of candles per week.
Third. Let guards also be posted to stop all the coaches, etc. that would pass the streets after sunset, except those of physicians, surgeons, and midwives.
Fourth. Every morning, as soon as the sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing; and if that is not sufficient? Let cannon be fired in every street, to wake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true interest.
"For the great benefit of this discovery, thus freely communicated and bestowed by me on the public, I demand neither place, pension, exclusive privilege, nor any other reward whatever," he continued. "I expect only to have the honour of it."
So who did first propose daylight saving time? We can place the blame on a New Zealand entomologist, George Hudson, who wanted more daylight in the evenings and presented the idea in 1895.
Well! Thanks alot, Mr. Hudson! Thank you very much! [/sarcasm]
As a result, governments and their legislators got into the game. After all, they had to prevent chaos, and with some areas observing Daylight Savings Time and others not observing it, there would be utter chaos. And if there's one thing that politicians love, it's control. So, they set out to "control" the position of the hands on a clock. Yep. That very same manmade clock we use to mark the passage of time.
In the U.S., there has been some form of Daylight Savings Time since the energy crisis in the 1970s. We were told that it would help "save energy." A 2017 meta-analysis of 44 studies found that Daylight Savings Time ... are you ready for this? ... produces only 0.3% electricity savings. Otherwise, virtually no energy savings.
City dwellers in industrialized nations have to be at work at a specific time, and don't set their work schedules by the rising and setting sun. Agrarian workers ... farmers, ranchers, etc. ... work from when the sun rises until the sun sets. The animals, like dairy cows, know nothing about a clock. Their "cycles" of wake and sleep are governed by sunrise and sunset. If your job is taking care of those animals, then you had better adapt to their schedule. As such, most agrarian workers are opposed to Daylight Savings Time.
What's worse, is no one can agree on whether to implement Daylight Savings Time, much less when to do so. In the UK and EU, Daylight Savings Time ends October 31, and reappears in March. In the U.S., Daylight Savings Time ends on November 7, and reappears again in March. Much of Asia and Africa don't even mess with Daylight Savings Time at all.
So, in the effort to avoid chaos and confusion, the "solution" has created a whole different circumstance for chaos to reign supreme. Even in the U.S., there are states that don't observe Daylight Savings Time, because they are divided by two time zones. Talk about confusion!
Furthermore, there's ample evidence that Daylight Savings Time has a negative effect on people's health. This article on Health.com lists seven ways Daylight Savings Time can have an impact on your health.
In a way, we are fooling ourselves with the foolishness of thinking we are gaining more hours of sunlight by messing with the hands on the clock. On any given day, there are a certain number of hours of daylight available. If you want to avail yourself of that daylight, then get up when the sun rises, and go to bed when the sun sets, just like our ancestors did, and just as the other animals on this planet do.
Daylight Savings Time has long outlived its usefulness. Let's just pick one time, whether it's "Standard Time" or "Daylight Savings Time," and just stick to it. Personally, my vote is for just maintaining Standard Time all year round. Bouncing the hands back and forth on a clock introduces more chaos and havoc than the meager benefits we receive from doing so.
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity, prosperity ... and continued good health. Stay safe!