on Monday, March 9, 2020
The 5 Most Important Things You Need to Know about Daylight Saving Time in 2020
This last Sunday we all changed our clocks back one hour. It’s old hat, a yearly routine. However, as you drink your extra cup of coffee, you may ask yourself if you're the only one sometimes wondering why DST exists? In (day)light of our clock’s new setting, let’s debunk a few myths about Daylight Saving Time, as well as learn about how it pertains to all of us along the front range today.
First and foremost, let’s make it clear what Daylight Saving Time (DST) is. It’s an effort to add an hour of sunlight to the end of the work day, maximizing our productivity and evening activities. With that, let’s move on to the most important things you need to know about it:
1.)The Name: It is "Daylight Saving Time" (singular), not "Daylight Savings Time" (plural).
It’s a common misconception that the ‘Savings’ in DST is plural, when, in fact, it isn’t! Who knew!
2.)The Science: What's behind the changes in sunlight?
With the Earth rotating off-kilter at a 23.4 degree angle, give or take a few degrees, seasonal shifts occur throughout every twenty four hours. Countries on the Equator are able to enjoy an evenly split rotation – 12 hours of daylight, 12 hours of nighttime. However, with that tilted axis, the further away you are from the Equator, the longer or shorter or sunlit hours are depending on where the earth is in its revolution. For a given six months the Northern Hemisphere gets the most sun, and when the earth is on the other side of the sun, it’s the Southern Hemisphere’s turn.
National Geographic sums it up like this: “The farther away the country, the more pronounced the difference in day length between summer and winter, and the more likely the region is to participate in the time shift.”
Did you know that farmers are not to blame for having to change our clocks twice a year? One of the most common myths about DST is that it exists to give farmers more time in their fields, producing more crops. It’s common to assume DST is about farming, but it isn't.
“It's a common misconception that farmers pushed for daylight-saving time in the US to get more time to work outside in the fields.
Because farmers' schedules revolved around sunlight and not the clock, a change in the amount of sunlight threw their entire workday out of whack. Agricultural groups were behind the effort to repeal daylight-saving time in 1919,” according Business Insider.
Did you also know Benjamin Franklin isn’t the Founding Father of Daylight Saving Time? Another myth we heard often growing up that apparently isn’t necessarily true.
What Benjamin Franklin DID do was write a satirical letter for the Journal de Paris in 1784, observing his surprise at the sun rising at six a.m. before citizens got out-and-about. He then made the satirical part of the letter, offering dramatic solutions to wake everyone up sooner. However, he never suggested a shift in clocks.
While the idea was brought up to governments elsewhere thereafter, DST was actually first implemented by Germany during World War 1. In order to overcome scare resources, the first Daylight Saving Time started in 1926 to expand resource use during the day. The U.S. soon followed in 1918.
4.)The Inclusions, and Exceptions: Not Everyone Observes DST, but possibly more participate than you think.
On a global level, DST participants include North America, Europe, New Zealand, and a few Middle East regions.
In the United States, the states and/or territories that opt out of DST include: Hawaii and most of Arizona (excluding the Navajo Nation) as well as the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
5.)The Future: DST May Not Be Forever
Some states are introducing bills to permanently stay on a DST schedule. No matter where you are, though, the catch if your state’s time change bill is signed into law, it can only take effect if and when federal law allows states to remain on daylight saving time year-round. Currently, seven states have approved legislation to keep DST year-round. These states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington. However, they will need approval from the federal government before they can implement the change.