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Spring Forward, Fall Back: The History of Daylight Saving Time

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Have you ever considered setting your clock forward by some minutes or even hours? Did you do it, and why? 

While it may seem strange, there's a practice that requires us to set our clocks forward by one hour during warmer months so that darkness comes at a later clock time, usually in spring and back to standard time in the fall.BG for BLUNTPOST (1)-Aug-05-2022-03-51-36-23-PM

What's more, there are specific dates for adjusting the clocks one hour forward in the name of daylight saving time (DST). 

DST always starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. This year's DST will begin on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 2.00 A.M. So get ready to wake up on this date to set your clock forward.

But what's the story behind Daylight Saving Time? Why should you wake up in the middle of the night just to set your clock an hour forward? Here's everything you need to know about daylight saving time.

What is Daylight Saving Time?

Springing forward into daylight saving time is a step back for health – a  neurologist explains the medical evidence, and why this shift is worse than  the fall time change

Daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of "springing" forward and "falling" back. It requires us to adjust our clocks by an hour ahead of standard time in summer and change them back in the fall.

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The idea behind DST is that the practice allows us to utilize natural light and minimize energy consumption. When we move clocks forward in the spring, we have more daylight during summer evenings. And when we move clocks back in the fall, we have more light in winter mornings.

Daylight saving time 2023

The practice of switching clocks an hour forward during spring and an hour back during fall happens yearly in most parts of the world.

This year, it is set to happen on Sunday, March 12, at 2.00 A.M. So from this Sunday, we'll have an extra hour in the evening to utilize natural light and save energy.

Daylight saving time in 2023 will end on Sunday, November 5, at 2.00 A.M. So, if you're planning to "spring" forward on March 12th, don't forget to "fall" back on November 5th. This way, you'll utilize more natural light in the morning, saving energy consumption.

Important note: These daylight-saving time dates are only for locations in the U.S. and Canada.

The history of daylight saving time

Daylight Saving Time Once Known As 'War Time' > U.S. Department of Defense  > Story

The DST concept can be traced back to the late 18th century. Benjamin Franklin is the man behind the DST concept. Benjamin penned a satirical letter for the Journal de Paris in 1784, expressing astonishment to see the sun rise at six in the morning when most people were still asleep. 

He suggested that people could observe candles by waking up earlier to take advantage of the morning sunlight. However, Benjamin never suggested a shift in clocks.

In late 1895, George Hudson, New Zealand entomologist and astronomer, brought forward the idea of adjusting clocks by two hours every spring. The idea was proposed to the Wellington Philosophical Society.

In 1907, William Willett, a British resident, proposed the idea to save energy. However, his opinion was not bought or implemented.

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Germany was the first country to implement daylight time in 1916 during world war 1. This was an energy-saving measure after resources went scarce. The U.S followed suit, making the first seasonal time shift in 1918.

However, the practice was widely unpopular, and many people opposed the idea of manipulating time. After the war ended, many countries, including the U.S, repealed daylight saving time.

However, the energy crisis of the 1970s saw daylight saving time reintroduced in many countries to conserve energy. Today, many countries observe daylight saving time despite the ongoing debate over its effectiveness. However, some still feel the practice should be discontinued.

Countries and states that observe daylight saving time

The Politics of Daylight Saving Time – National Geographic Education Blog

Not everyone follows the practice of 'springing" forward and "falling" back. For instance, some states in the U.S opted out of daylight saving time, including; Hawaii, most of Arizona, territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S Virgin Islands.

The popularity of daylight saving time varies globally as well. Some countries and regions in the annual time shift include New Zealand, most of North America, and a few areas of the Middle East. However, each of these regions has different start and stop dates.

Most of Asia and Africa haven't bought the idea of changing their clocks. Australia and South America are split on the matter.

Daylight saving time today

The present DST period was set with the energy Policy Act of 2005, which was implemented in 2007. However, some groups, including farmer's organizations, continue to oppose daylight saving time.

Through their spokesperson Katherine Dutro, the Indiana Farm Bureau claims that DST is a gimmick that alters the relationship between "sun" time and "clock" time but doesn't save time or daylight.

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The U.S senate recently passed a bill to make DST permanent starting in 2023. However, the bill must be passed by the House of Representatives before being signed into law by the President.

Benefits of daylight saving time

Daylight Saving Time Pros and Cons - Top Advantages and Disadvantages

So, why should people set their clocks forward in hot months and back during fall? Here are some perceived benefits of the practice.

  • Energy conservation: The idea behind daylight saving time was to minimize energy consumption by using natural light. People can use extended daylight hours to reduce the need for artificial lighting. This can help save energy.
  • More productivity: Industries that rely on natural light, like construction and agriculture, can increase their productivity thanks to the longer daylight hours. In fact, there are claims that DST was implemented to benefit farmers.
  • Recreational opportunities: extended daylight hours in the evening provide more opportunities for outdoor activities like going for walks and playing sports.

Get ready to adjust your clocks forward




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