It’s that time of year again – where we screw around with our clocks, both body and timekeeping, unnecessarily. Yes, I’m one of those anti-Daylight Saving Time people. This is a practice filled with myths, like many other aspects of modern culture. I’d like to go over a few of them here, in hopes that I can get some converts to a better position. The more people see the light (so to speak), the more likely we are to getting rid of this nonsense. Let’s dive in:
It benefits farmers. Allegedly, DST was to help farmers harvest more crops. In truth, farmers are among the biggest critics. Ask any farmer how much cows enjoy changes to their milking schedule. Those heifers can be like drill sergeants if you mess their routine. One of the big drivers of the passing of the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was actually department stores lobbying for it. The reasoning? More commuters going home while the sun is still shining increases the likelihood of them stopping in to shop. With malls, shopping centers and big-box stores closing in droves due to online shopping, this might be one less opponent to abolishing DST.
It improves our health. The extra sunlight increases the Vitamin D in our bodies, as the standard line goes. That may be true. However, the clock changes result in increased workplace accidents, up to 6%. While those that work in office jobs might not appreciate the difference, I think anyone in industries such as construction, transportation or mining would be very uncomfortable with this. As someone who recently left a large utility, with many teammates out in the field, I find this very alarming.
We use less energy. This is probably the most-cited reason for – and the biggest falsehood of – DST overall. The script reads something to the effect of, “with later sunsets, electricity use will decrease because fewer lights will be turned on.” Yeah, fine. But that extra hour of sunlight means air conditioners have to run at full blast for an hour longer. California, everyone’s pick for most environmentally-friendly government, found that their residents saved a whopping 0.18% after the torture of DST was extended by 4 weeks in 2007 as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (one of the several epic failures of the G.W. Bush Administration).
That’s just a few. I haven’t even talked about the havoc this monster wreaks on scheduling for airlines and railroads, the lobby of the National Association of Convenience Stores to make the most recent extension solely for extending trick-or-treat time to boost their profits, the absurd drop in productivity in offices nationwide the Monday after a time shift, and a host of other factors.
I could go on for hours, but I’ll go ahead and wrap this rant up. The moral is similar to many other stories: If the government swears it’s gospel, it’s probably a fairy tale.