Congress tried this once before in 1974 when DST would be year-round, hoping later sunsets would reduce energy consumption during the OPEC oil embargo. Months of children waiting for the school bus in the dark combined with no conclusive energy savings convinced Congress to end the law the following year.
Ever since we started springing forward and falling back, it has been a source of debate and consternation. Many countries have managed without changing their clocks twice a year. Hawaii and Arizona, aside from the Navajo Nation, are the only venues in the U.S. that observe Standard Time year-round.
The railroads were instrumental in establishing Standard Time that was followed by the Standard Time Act in 1918 where the Interstate Commerce Commission created the time zones we still observe. Standard Time is the local mean solar time of a degree of longitude aligned with the height and arc of the sun’s skyward journey where noon and midnight occur the closest within your time zone.
The days always get longer as we approach spring as no act of Congress can change the tilt of the earth’s orbit or its axis and rotation.
DST is defined as one hour ahead of Standard Time.
Provided DST is observed year-round, in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, the earliest sunset in December arrives at 5:38 p.m. The latest sunrise during the same period would occur 8:30 a.m. The sun would rise at 8 a.m. or later from Nov. 21 to Feb. 15. In parts of Michigan, Montana, and North Dakota, the latest sunrise would not arrive until after 9:30 a.m.
Native American lore speaks of “cutting a foot off the bottom of a blanket and sewing it on the top does not make it bigger.” DST does not save daylight as there is no increase despite what the clocks may read. The days always get longer as we approach spring as no act of Congress can change the tilt of the earth’s orbit or its axis and rotation.
What about every Saturday night we turn the clocks back one hour providing everyone an extra hour of sleep each weekend. To catch up, we could skip Tax Day, April 15th, and Groundhog Day on Feb 2. Perhaps the biggest issue is getting the correct time in sync in your car and appliances and know when to change the batteries in our smoke detectors.
Somehow, we will survive.
Legislating the hands of a clock is akin to mandating that winter temperatures will now be reported as ten degrees higher to make us believe we are warmer.
If something must take place during daylight hours, adjust the hours, not the clocks. People can decide if they want to start their day earlier like construction crews in summer. There is nothing stopping schools or businesses from adjusting their schedules. Legislating the hands of a clock is akin to mandating that winter temperatures will now be reported as ten degrees higher to make us believe we are warmer.
According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, changing the clocks causes “misalignment between our circadian clock and environmental clock.” Translated the bi-annual time changes upsets our biological rhythms and sleeping pattern, which leads to a greater risk of heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents. The Society for Research on Biological Rhythms called for ending DST, citing its negative effects on overall health and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine agreed.
Provided we keep yearlong Standard Time or DST or decide to maintain the bi-annual change of clocks, there will always be late and early sunrises and sunsets. Returning to one yearlong time saves the inconvenience, annoyance and lost productivity that comes with switching twice a year.
We tried permanent DST before and it failed. Will we ever learn? This column, including a plethora of health professionals, supports making Standard Time – permanent.
Every day brings with it just so many hours of daylight and to continue to play three card monte with the clocks is no solution but an illusion.
The time to be heard is now as your House representative has yet to vote on the “Sunshine Protection Act.”
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