COLUMN: Daylight saving time needs to be abolished
Daylight saving time is a bi-yearly hassle that the world would be better off without.
Nov. 20, 2020
Campbell Biemiller is a first-year journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about politics and entertainment for The Maneater.
Twice a year, daylight saving time throws Americans off their axes. The clock rewinds in late October, leading to complaints about lost sunlight. As people grow accustomed to minimal sunlight, time pushes forward yet again in mid-March. Daylight saving time is a pointless practice that should be eliminated altogether.
Robert Garland introduced daylight saving time to the United States in 1918, hoping to mimic the EU and save energy from the war efforts. America didn’t enact daylight saving time nationwide until it was reintroduced in 1942, the pinnacle of World War II. Meant to conserve fuel and energy for the military, it has little use today.
Today, the purpose of enforcing daylight saving time is simply to make better use of daylight. Moving the clocks ahead decreases electricity use minimally, in theory making working hours only when the sun is up.
Due to technological advancements since World War II like smart devices, cars and utilities, the changing time has little effect on conserving energy and daylight saving time will not reduce energy consumption. In the technology-driven society we live in, the one-hour difference does little against the constant use of electricity. In some places, there have been histories of extended energy use.
Scientific American collected various research studies explaining how daylight saving time actually uses more energy. “Daylight time led to a 1% overall rise in residential electricity use, costing [Indiana] an extra $9 million,” according to Scientific American. The results of the same study conducted by economist Matthew Kotchen saw heating and cooling unit activity skyrocket, costing any money daylight saving time might have made.
Humans need a consistent sleep schedule to follow and throwing it off by an hour has negative side effects. Daylight saving time disrupts the circadian rhythm which has a domino effect of other consequences. There’s the standard increased tiredness and inconvenience, but further studies show increased depression levels, links to miscarriages and workplace accidents.
Daylight saving time is expensive after the spring turn. There’s a decrease in productivity when the clocks change. Funding goes toward projects like the “Dusk and Darkness” safety campaign created to help pedestrians stay safe in the dark hours of the spring mornings and dark evenings in the fall. Additionally, companies invest money into technology to automatically adjust clocks.
The economic cost of changing the clocks could be up to $434 million in the U.S. alone due to the health effects and loss of productivity throughout the country.
According to Business Insider, the opportunity cost of every American household taking about ten minutes to change their clocks results in a billion dollars lost and that amount doubled per individual.
Daylight saving time isn’t practiced in every country or even every state.
“Millions of Americans in Arizona, Hawaii and territories like Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have survived just fine without it,” according to the Atlantic. Many countries throughout Asia, Africa and South America don’t practice it either.
The entire world functions on time zones. The time zone map takes into account daylight saving time, but that causes problems for states that don’t practice it. The domino effect applies here because it suddenly means parts of certain states and countries don’t align timewise. For example, some counties in Arizona will be an hour off from each other despite being geographically identical.
According to the new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 70% of Americans would rather eliminate daylight saving time and have a consistent, year-round schedule. People would prefer enforcing daylight saving time year-round or eliminating all together rather than switching twice a year.
Daylight saving time has been ridiculed for almost a century. Americans would be more productive, safer and happier if the clocks stay the same year-round.
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Edited by Sofi Zeman | firstname.lastname@example.org