Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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The fascinating history behind daylight saving time and some time-ly tips

As I write this I am sitting in Arizona. It will be the first time in my life that I will not “fall back” in time at the end of daylight saving time (DST).

A few times in my lifetime, the change occurred on my birthday weekend, which extended the party an hour longer. But now it just means we must change all our devices. Not too long ago, those devices amounted to a clock or two on the wall, a watch, and an alarm clock. But now we have those plus the microwave, computers, cell phones, Fitbit, Apple watches, tablets, and all the other gadgets that need to know what time it is.

Did you ever consider that in the U.S. we go back an hour on the first Sunday in November at 2:00 a.m., but in the European Union it happens at 1:00 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, the last Sunday in October and all at the same moment no matter the time zone?

So comes the age-old question, “Does anyone really know what time it is?”

I am feeling a bit special when you consider who opted out of observing DST. In the U.S., it’s Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Arizona.

However, the Navajo Nation does participate in DST policy because it reaches into three states, including Arizona.

Who started this daylight saving time craziness?

A London builder, William Willet, was riding his horse in 1907 early one morning and noticed shutters were still closed even though the sun was shining. He wrote a manifesto, “The Waste of Daylight,” and began a light-saving campaign.

Willet wrote: “Everyone appreciates the long light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as Autumn approaches, and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the clear bright light of early morning, during Spring and Summer months, is so seldom seen or used. … That so many as 154 hours of daylight are, to all intents and purposes, wasted every year, is a defect in our civilisation. Let Great Britain and Ireland recognise, and remedy it.”

It took a war to get the world to listen. Germany was first to adopt a system in 1915 to save fuel during World War I. Then came the British Summer Time in 1916 that put clocks an hour ahead from May 21 to October 1. The United States followed in 1918, but with great opposition. But the idea of energy conservation when we entered the war seemed like a good idea.

The first daylight saving time in the U.S. lasted seven months

But it only lasted about seven months. The law was repealed in 1920. At least 28 bills were presented to repeal daylight saving time with strong support from the farming and ranching communities.

The law kept going through various changes over the years. It came back during WWII to save energy once again. States were choosing their own start and end dates, which messed with interstate bus and train schedules.

U.S. Congress approved a bill to increase the DST time frame to start the first Sunday in April. Their goal was to conserve oil in electricity generation, which amounted to 300,000 barrels a year.

The current daylight saving time period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007. The farming lobby continues to protest.

Tips for changing the clocks

  • Use your computer time to set the rest of your clocks. It should be synced with UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) National Insitute of Standards and Technoloty (NIST), or “UTC(NIST)”, the U.S. national standard for time-of-day, time interval, and frequency. Be sure it is set to update automatically – but you need to be connected to the internet to make it happen.
  • Your phone has the option to update automatically and have a selected time zone. It too needs to connect to the internet to work. But if you are a full-time traveler, this option may not help you.
  • If you use a Fitbit or similar type of device, you may need to log into the app on your phone to make the changes.
  • If you still rely on an alarm clock, double-check to make sure your set times are accurate.
  • Change the clocks on your kitchen appliances such as your oven and microwave. Those won’t adjust on their own.

We have changed our fair share of time throughout the year as we travel around to different time zones. Sometimes we question what time it is because some devices will change automatically, and others have a mind of their own.

If you are in a DST zone, enjoy your extra hour. And remember to change out the batteries in your smoke detectors.

##RVT1025

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Bob P
1 month ago

I think back to when I was a child and we would travel to see my grandfather in southern IL and his clocks would still be on CST and the rest of the state would be on CDST. When asked why he didn’t change to CDST is answer was the cows, chickens, and pigs didn’t know what CDST was they still needed to be milked, or fed every day at approximately the same time. He was a lifetime farmer until he retired and sold the farm to his oldest son. He still got up a 4 AM 7 days a week, fixed 2eggs, 4 strips of bacon and coffee before going out to the farm to collect the eggs at sunrise and feed the hogs, he did that routine the morning that he died of a massive stroke on his 80th birthday…rest in peace Grandpa.

Uncle Swags
1 month ago

It’s good to be retired and not concerned generally what time it is. I have only 2 times: light and dark. When its light go out and enjoy the day and when its dark get inside and rest up for the next light.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

We voted to get rid of DST years ago here in NV. Somehow, it just never happened.

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I believe it was a couple years ago some in Florida wanted to keep DST all year long. That would suit me fine. I get up at noon and go to bed at 3:00 am. I would like more daylight when I get home from work. NOW, if we kept one time zone in the entire USA, I could move from the East Coast to the West Coast, where the sun sets later, and would be more in tune with my circadian rhythm. Working in the yard at night is a real pain as the fire ants, that I can’t see at night, crawl up my arm before I know it and then they begin to bite. Doesn’t anyone care about my feelings?

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

No. 😆 Just kidding, Kelly. Take care, and watch out for the fire ants! 🙂 –Diane

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Me just kidding too – except for the fire ants!

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

😆 Have a good night, Kelly. 🙂 –Diane

Suru
1 month ago

I live in Utah and we get dark mornings and light evenings. I wish we would stay on standard time all year. I would much rather have the sun up before 8:00AM in the Fall and Winter than the sun going down at 10:30PM in the summer. Twice a year when we change the time it’s all over the news how we should abolish DLST. This has been going on forever. Yet, here we go again LOL!

bull
1 month ago

I remember in either 1973 or 1974 during the Arab Oil Embargo there was 1 of those years where we stayed on Daylight Savings Time all year. Pretty interesting going to school in the dark at 7 AM.

I loved it as for “ME” it’s better to have daylight longer in the evening than in the morning. The state I live in, Tennessee, has passed a state law to go to DLST year around however it take the action of the Federal government (Congress) to pass the law allowing the states to determine their own time zone.

Fat chance that will happen with all the DO NOTHING CONGRESS’S we have enjoyed for the last 30 years!

Edward
1 month ago
Reply to  bull

I beg your pardon bull(y). We don’t have a do nothing Congress. Why don’t you move to Iran and see how good it’s there? Another stooooopid American making a silly comment thinking it’s funny.

Gene Bjerke
1 month ago

When we were traveling in the Four Corners region some years back, due to the different areas following or not following DST (and the roads not marking state lines) the joke was that we never knew what time it was or what state we were in. Checking the log book for that trip, we found one stop in which we took a nap, ate lunch, and looked through a trading post. According to the log, we left 10 minutes before we arrived (obviously used different devices to take our time).

Impavid
1 month ago

Some people think you get an extra hour of daylight. It’s like the old Indian said “DST is like cutting a foot off the bottom of your blanket and sewing it onto the top so your blanket is now a foot longer.” You can’t fix stupid.

Joe Allen
1 month ago

Hate these time changes all my life! Stupid, stupid! It needs to go away like the politicians who come up with these stupid ideas!

TIM MCRAE
1 month ago

Every year we hear all the arguments and laws are proposed.

Farmers are against. No one I know cares.

Who actually wants it and why do we keep doing it? What is wrong with our politicians? oh …

Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  TIM MCRAE

I do that too, answer my own questions, especially about politicians.

tom
1 month ago

DST should be abandoned. In our modern times, with ample light everywhere, DST is just interesting history.