Tomorrow, very early in the morning, Daylight Saving Time starts for most of the USA and other parts of the world. Why?
Regardless of what you heard it was not designed for children waiting at bus stops, or the farmers, or whatever other story you may have heard. The incarnations today have to do with energy consumption. But the history is even earlier than addressing energy.
Apparently Benjamin Franklin first suggested the concept in 1784 in the Journal de Paris as he was enjoying France. The idea languished for over a century until an Englishman named William Willett brought it up again in 1907. The British passed an Act of Parliament in 1916 introducing British Summer Time moving clocks one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) during the summer months in an effort to save energy. Hey for those that dislike Daylight Saving Time, you can blame the British instead of the Americans on this one! The USA followed in 1918 for the remainder of World War I, but it was a local, uneven effort until the Uniform Time Act of 1966 which standardized nationally how daylight savings would work. The Act was amended in 2007 changing the start date to the second Sunday of March. And if you were wondering, we are saving daylight, so it is singular and not plural.
Beside the fact that I find it miserable to adjust my internal clock twice per year because an external clock has changed, it is debatable whether daylight saving even achieves its goal of energy savings. Official government agencies all toe the party line and tout the energy savings, but there are studies that show otherwise.
A 2006 Indiana study found that energy use actually increased 1%! Interestingly the research suggested that increased air conditioner use in the summer evenings and heating in early spring exceeded the reduction from lighting. In 2007, California Energy Commission economists discovered no statistically significant effect either way.
Animals apparently suffer too! Dairy farmers are reporting that cows are affected too. Won’t somebody please think of the cows?
Since there is insufficient evidence supporting this twice annual sleep disruption, my selfish suggestion is to simply dump it or leave it in effect year-round.