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  • Betty Girardeau

Fall Back/Spring Forward, Right?

I am going to say right out front that I don't like messing with time. I understand why Daylight Savings Time was created historically. Do you? Well, if you don't here is a short history lesson. This information is from a site called Live Science, and it's interesting: "Benjamin Franklin takes the honor (or the blame, depending on your view of the time changes) for coming up with the idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy, according to David Prerau, author of "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time" (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005). By moving clocks forward, people could take advantage of the extra evening daylight rather than wasting energy on lighting. At the time, Franklin was ambassador to Paris and so wrote a witty letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784, rejoicing over his "discovery" that the sun provides light as soon as it rises. Even so, DST didn't officially begin until more than a century later. Germany established DST in May 1916 as a way to conserve fuel during World War I. The rest of Europe came onboard shortly thereafter. And in 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time." However, DST was actually abolished after WWI and was not restarted until FDR restarted it in 1942 because it was "war time." And "after the war, a free-for-all system in which U.S. states and towns were given the choice of whether or not to observe DST led to 1966, to tame such "Wild West" mayhem, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act. That federal law meant that any state observing DST — and they didn't have to jump on the DST bandwagon — had to follow a uniform protocol throughout the state in which daylight saving time would begin on the first Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. Then, in 2007, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect, expanding the length of daylight saving time to the present timing." But further studies have shown that " the evidence for energy savings is slim." Now new studies that I just read today, say that DST could be, probably is, bad for your health mostly because it wrecks your normal sleep and life cycles. I know my cats certainly know that to be the case. Boo, my older and maybe wiser black cat, has been telling me for a couple of weeks that her normal 4:00 o'clock specialty treat time should start anytime from 2:00-3:00 PM. She will LOVE tomorrow! Personally I do pretty well when it is "Fall Back" time, but when I have to "Spring Forward" it can take me days to reacclimatize. My state is one of, I think, 18 US states that have voted for year round DST. I would prefer that, definitely. But that would actually mean that DST would become the norm. Do we really, really want dark mornings at 8:00 AM this time of year for the preference of much longer evenings lit by the sun in the summer. As a non-morning person, I would definitely vote "yes." But the bottom line for me is that I wish we would stop trying to manipulate the length of the day. Let's come up with something we can all agree about so we don't have to change our clock settings a couple of times a year.

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