As fall begins, the days get shorter. As it’s darker in the mornings and light is fading earlier in the evenings, it’s that time of year to
Sunday, November 4 at 2 AM
The concept of Daylight Savings began in Canada in 1908 to extend evening light, and as we enter into fall, to make mornings brighter. The thought was also to be more energy efficient.
How Did It Start?
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.
Though President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI ended, the country was mostly rural at the time and farmers objected, partly because it would mean they lost an hour of morning light. (It's a myth that DST was instituted to help farmers.) And so daylight saving time was abolished until the next war brought it back into vogue. At the start of WWII, on Feb. 9, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round, calling it "War Time."
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 chaos. And in 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.
Why do we still have daylight saving time?
Fewer than 40 percent of the world's countries observe daylight saving time, according to timeanddate.com. However, those who do take advantage of the natural daylight in the evenings. That's because the days start to get longer as Earth moves from the winter season to spring and summer, with the longest day of the year on the summer solstice. During the summer, Earth, which revolves around its axis at an angle, is tilted directly toward the sun (at least its top half).
As Earth orbits the sun, it also spins around its own imaginary axis. Because it revolves around this axis at an angle, different parts of our planet experience the sun's direct rays at different times of the year, leading to the seasons.
Regions farthest away from the equator and closer to the poles get the most benefit from the DST clock change, because there is a more dramatic change in sunlight throughout the seasons.
Research has also suggested that with more daylight in the evenings, there are fewer traffic accidents, as there are fewer cars on the road when it's dark outside. More daylight also could mean more outdoor exercise (or exercise at all) for full-time workers.
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