Daylight Disaster

There’s a time and place for everything, but not now.”

Professor Oak

Daylight Saving Time has been around for a hundred years. There are speculations on its origin from factories to Benjamin Franklin, but what is the truth of DST? Why do we still have it around anyway?

Let’s look at the history and facts

For Farmers

“If you want to cut off 25 per cent of the productiveness of the American farmer, just keep this law on the books,” -Prerau (author of Seize the Daylight)

A common misconception about DST is that it was created and supported by farmers.

On the contrary- farmers hated it

The agriculture business lobbied against DST as the change cut productivity and made life overall tougher.  DST cut an hour of daylight in the morning, leaving them with an hour less to get goods to market. Dairy farmers especially get hit with DST because of cows’ natural milking schedules don’t adapt easily to a sudden shift.

“[The Farmers] had a powerful lobby and were against it vociferously.” -Michael Downing (author of Spring Forward)

Saving Energy

Surprise- it doesn’t save energy

In 2008, the US Department of Energy conducted a study that showed that we reduced only around 0.03%.

Another 2008 study from the University of California-Santa Barbara suggested energy consumption may have increased

A specific case can be seen in Indiana who adopted DST statewide in 2006. After research, power use actually rose 1% (around 3% in the fall). The additional power usage cost Indiana power users $9 million a year and increased pollution

Just a Prank

Benjamin Franklin did not create DST

Interestingly, the document that Benjamin Franklin wrote that people believed promoted an early version of DST, was actually just a big joke he was making in an anonymous letter.

Ben was living in France when he noticed that there was a candle company that advertising that they had long lasting wax which would save Parisians money. Ben wrote an anonymous letter saying that they should wake up before noon and gave a satirical notion that they could just legislate a change in time.

Every morning as soon as the sun shall rise, church bells and, if necessary, cannon shall inform the citizenry of the advent of light and “awaken the sluggards effectually and make them open their eyes to see their true interests

All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity.

Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is probable he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening.” -An Economical Project by Ben Franklin

He was just pranking the French because he was bored.

Now it’s the law

NO ONE LIKES WAKING UP EARLIER

Health Concerns

It’s not only annoying to reset every clock in your house- it can disrupt your sleep cycle for up to three weeks among other unhealthy things.

Artificially changing your seasonal clock is unhealthy and possibly something humans cannot actually adjust to. DST cuts into sleep time and increasesworkplace injuries- not only the injuries themselves increased, but the severity of them increased as well. The number of days missed due to an injury after DST rose by about 68%.

Suicide increases after DST which researchers believe the destabilizing effect of sleep disruption on people with mental health is harmful. Some physicians warn that changes in circadian rhythm can trigger cluster headaches, leading to days or weeks of discomfort. Heart Attack increases by 10% after DST begins due to sleep deprivation and changes in a person’s circadian rhythm.

Also people don’t exercise more due to DST either

Economic Burden

In 2013, Chmura Economics & Analytics suggested that the cost could be up to $434 million in the U.S. alone for compensating for the health problems caused by DST. Other research suggests the cost is almost $2 billion. 

To sum up, DST has really no reason to still exist, people don’t like it and it’s just based on rumors.

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