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By Kristen Wagner
Spring forward and fall back. We’ve heard it, we have riddles for it so that we can remember it, and we follow it regularly or else we’re early or late for whatever the world throws at us. Now that it’s springtime we’ve turned our clocks forward an hour and have lost an hour of time right out from underneath of us. But what’s the real point?
According to geography.about.com, Daylight Saving Time was introduced in the United States during WWI to save energy for war production. We could take advantage of later hours of daylight between April and October. The states observed the time change again with WWII, and then the states could choose whether or not they’d take part in Daylight Saving Time, but if they did they would need to follow the standardized length of time which Congress passed in the Uniform Time Act in 1966.
According to energy.ca.gov, Daylight Saving Time saves energy and electricity. The demand for energy and electricity use is directly connected to when we go to bed and when we wake up. As we go to bed we turn off all the lights and shut the TV off. The website explains that 25 percent of the electricity we use is for lighting and small appliance use. Much of this energy is used in the evening when children are home from school and parents are home from work. Moving the clock ahead by an hour decreases the amount of energy we consume daily.
Less electricity is also used during the spring and summer because people are home for fewer hours during the longer days. Many people spend extra time doing outdoor activities in the warmer weather with the extended daylight time. By adding up all of the small amounts of electricity that are saved from each household we can see that the results are very large.
According to webexhibits.org, there are several other reasons for implementing Daylight Saving Time. These reasons include energy conservation, a possibility of fewer traffic accidents, safer trick-or-treaters, an increased voter turnout, and simply that people just like it. People tend to enjoy longer summer evenings because the weather is nice and more activities can be accomplished.
Webexhibits.org explains that there are fewer violent crimes because darkness is a vital factor in the most violent crimes, such as mugging. More of these incidents happen after dusk than before dawn. In this respect, longer and lighter days may be very beneficial.
Daylight Saving Time ended a few days before Halloween through 2006. The new law in 2007 extended Daylight Saving Time until the first Sunday in November. The purpose of this was to try and keep children safer. More light equals more safety for those children.
Additionally, according to webexhibits.org, there is some research that suggests energy conservation, but there are also many contradictions to this as well. There are several people who rise before the sun does in the summer. Those people use more electricity in the morning than if Daylight Saving Time wasn’t in effect. This energy use in the morning can offset the saving of energy from no usage of lighting in the evenings.
Although there are contradictions on whether or not Daylight Saving Time does conserve energy, there are several other reasons for keeping Daylight Saving Time in place. Many of these reasons deal with the safety and wellbeing of the country.