Over the weekend, some of you may have noticed your clocks were suddenly an hour behind. Some of you might have even been late to work Sunday morning because of it. Some of you might’ve slept right through Either way, nobody likes losing an hour due to daylight savings, and we begin to wonder… why do we have it in the first place?
According to an article in TIME Magazine by Olivia Waxman, daylight savings time began in Germany on May 1, 1916 in hopes it would save energy during World War I. On March 19, 1918, the United States passed a law for daylight savings time for the same reason. Michael Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Savings Time,” wrote that“ Americans getting off work while it was still light out meant they would be more likely to go out shopping in the evening.” He also mentions that since there wasn’t any artificial lighting at baseball fields, extended daylight provided the ability to play night games.
When asking about the origins of daylight savings time, the most popular answer one gets is simply “because of farmers.” Downing actually wrote that “farmers advocating for daylight saving is a common myth. In fact, daylight saving time meant they had less time in the morning to get their milk and harvested crops to market. Some warned that it was taking us off God’s time.” So, if daylight savings time isn’t for farmers, why are we still catering to a system that was started in 1916?
Some states and countries such as Hawaii, Arizona, Guam and Puerto Rico choose to ignore this practice and leave their clocks as is. Since they are either islands or on the border of a time zone, it seems irrelevant. Pennsylvania legislation is actually working on passing a law that would join the state with Hawaii and Arizona. Unlike those states, Pennsylvania is a major transportation state in the northeast, and ignoring daylight savings time would throw off travel times all over the country. Last year, Louisiana legislation attempted to ignore daylight savings time as well, in hopes of recruiting car accidents at night. Since Louisiana is a vital travel state as well, the proposal was rejected. According to Rep. Mark Wright of Covington, Louisiana could exempt itself from the changes and decide on a standard time year-round. But first, the legislature want to put together a task force to study the impacts and then pursue legislation in 2019.
After Mardi Gras, New Orleanians are trying to recover from the festivities and get back to a regular sleeping schedule. Daylight savings time can make this rather difficult , especially for UNO students as they get back in the swing of things academically.
It seems like it’s more trouble than it’s worth to exclude oneself from what the rest of the world is doing, especially for states like Louisiana and Pennsylvania, because of the important roles they play nationally. It’s not fun to “spring forward” and lose an hour for outdated reasons, but it’s worth it when we can “fall back” and get that hour back. We can all look forward to 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3, because that’s when we’ll get that hour back!