I’ve never been a fan of daylight savings, or as I like to call it, daylight *slavings* (har, har). Mostly, I’ve just never seen the point of it, thinking it belonged to war-era attempts at conserving electricity and/or getting more work out of people. However, in the interest of fairness and my ongoing attempts to challenge my own beliefs, I decided to delve into a couple of Library databases to discover the true origins of this bi-annual event.
The first surprising fact I discovered is that neither Arizona nor Hawaii use daylight saving time (DST). Hawaii I get, because why mess with a tropical paradise? Also, it’s an island, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally crossing over its border and forgetting to change all your clocks. But Arizona? What makes them special? Although I agree wholeheartedly with Arizona’s stance on this issue, I can only imagine how confusing it must be for unwitting travelers from California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, or New Mexico. While Arizona might not need that extra hour of sunlight, being the only holdout in the Southwest doesn’t seem very neighborly. But moving on…
Many people think that the original reason for adopting DST was so farmers could have more daylight in the field, but the farm lobby was against DST because it reduced the time they had in the morning for milking and bringing crops to market. In fact, the first DST law was repealed after World War I to placate these angry farmers. Industrialists, politicians, and the Chamber of Commerce were among the first early supporters, and although DST has not been proven to reduce energy consumption, it *has* been proven to increase economic consumption, boosting the golf and barbecue industries (yes, that’s a thing) by hundreds of millions of dollars.
And to my friends who say daylight savings “feels” longer than it used to, you are not delusional! Not only does it feel longer, it is longer, because in 2007 the federal government expanded DST from its previous range between the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October to the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. So now we have 8 months of made up time, out of 12! (Not that all time isn’t made up, but that’s a topic for a different blog post - one which I am undoubtedly not qualified to cover).
So, although DST in this country has been around, in some form or another, since 1918, its current iteration has only been in effect for a little over 10 years. And it could change again. The federal government decided to adopt year-round daylight savings during the energy crisis of 1973-74, although they reinstated civil, AKA “normal” time, at the end of 1974. My point here is that the federal government, although it increasingly appears to have little power over most things, still has the power to CHANGE TIME. So watch out. (haha, get it? ;)
Anyway... until our state or federal governments wise up and resign themselves to the tragic loss of those millions of BBQ dollars, I guess we’re stuck with DST. I will resent losing an hour when I wake up on Sunday while later enjoying the extra hour of light after work in which I can more seriously contemplate the possibility of outdoor exercise. Or maybe I’ll just move to Arizona. Which, considering the drippy gray state of things outside my window today, is looking increasingly appealing.
Vanessa Velez, Collection Development Librarian
Explora and Flipster
Daylight saving time. (2017). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1
Demarino, Nicholas. (2012). Arizona on standard time as US springs forward. AP Regional State Report - Arizona
Waxman, O. B. (2017). The Original Point of Daylight Saving Time. Time, 189(10), 21.