No more need for daylight savings time

“I love losing an hour of sleep!” said no one ever. This might be the only thing those on opposing sides of the daylight saving time (DST) debate agree on. Surely though, the most amazing thing about this debate is how long it’s been transpiring. DST started during World War I as a way to save energy and fuel for the war effort. Germany started this practice and other warring countries soon followed.

A shift in daylight hours meant that the lighter it stayed at night, the longer those involved in war efforts could work. Additionally, less reliance on artificial light was needed. After World War I ended, many countries reverted back to standard time, according to the website Time and Date, DST was then reinstated during World War II for many of the same reasons as before, but has instead stayed in place.

When DST was permanently enacted after the war, it had to be relabeled from “War Time” to “Peace Time.” Now however, with the absence of World Wars, the DST argument has taken on new positives and negatives. According to National Geographic, those on team DST favor outdoor activities in the evening, promotion of energy efficiency (whether this is an effective argument is still unclear despite the 100 plus years of research), and increased retail, tourist and other business sales.

In opposition, team standard time zone is against changing every clock in the house, having dark mornings and trying to figure out complicated travel schedules that result in transportation issues. Additionally, Hawaii and Arizona do not observe DST. The Ancient History Encyclopedia states that in ancient civilizations, time was kept “through observation of the celestial bodies – the sun, moon, stars and the five planets known in antiquity.

The rising and setting of the sun, the solstices, phases of the moon, and the position of particular stars and constellations have been used in all ancient civilizations to demarcate particular activities.” Throughout history, time keeping has been an important concept.

Our evolution from the stars, moons, and sunlight to clocks and measurement has revolutionized the way humanity conducts their lives. With the emergence of a globalized world, it seems that sunlight matters less and less.

Business is conducted regardless whether or not the sun is up or down. Now, our society is so clock-based oriented that sunlight doesn’t seem to affect our schedules as much as it might have done in the past, and certainly not as much as during the war effort. Maintaining two time schedules seems like more of habitual practice rather than a pragmatic decision

. OnEarth Magazine lists an old saying regarding Native Americans’ response to DST: “When told the reason for daylight saving time the old Indian said … ‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.'”

Despite the apparent prejudice in the saying, there is definitely some truth to unpack here; DST gives Americans the illusion that there are more hours in the day since the sun is seemingly up for a majority of hours. However, the sun doesn’t change its course and the hours in the day remain the standard 24.

The only thing that is changing is our time keeping; humanity is changing time to fancy its work schedules and sunlight preferences. This seems almost sacrilegious, and with our emerging globalized world, somewhat pointless. Two time schedules are not needed in our society as they further complicate our sense of the world.

Time has become so scheduled that more sunlight isn’t going to drastically change our day-to-day lives; in fact, many argue that it won’t change our lives at all. Despite being outdated and racist, maybe the central idea of the blanket metaphor is correct.

We project meaning onto sunlight – sunlight is productive, it’s happy, it’s warm – but at the end of the day, when the sun is no longer in sight, we’ve experienced as much as we would have whether we had an extra hour of sunlight or not. But alas, many find comfort in believing they have a longer blanket.