A Moment in Time

Why Daylight Savings is Outdated


Why Daylight Savings is Outdated

A bill was introduced March of this year which aimed to end daylight savings in Alaska. Supported by State Representatives Rauscher and Jackson, it signified the modern insignificance of daylight savings as well as legitimate efforts to end it. Daylight savings has been part of our world for over a century; so why would the government want to shut it down? To answer that, we go back through history.

Profiting from the increased daylight has been considered for centuries, even dating back to ancient Rome, but changing time itself was only first proposed in 1895 by scientist George Hudson. Along with William Willett, he debated the idea of simply switching clocks back two hours rather than waking an entire country earlier.

It officially took place years later, when a small group of Canadians set their clocks back an hour in 1908. Their original purpose? To take advantage of the changing seasons, because the increased sunlight provided more time in the day for working, playing, and other activities. But due to the small and relatively meaningless number of people who took part in it initially, the concept of ‘saving light’ (now called ‘daylight savings’) was not recognized on a national scale until 1916, when Germany introduced it to the global stage. At that time, Germany was fighting in the First World War; additional daytime saved them money on gas lamps and therefore furthered war efforts.

Daylight savings was originally an innovative method to further productivity, but the turn of the century introduced technological advances and new forms of artificial light, making sunlight a less influential factor of life. Countries around the world could now carry on with life even in darkness, using light bulbs and street lamps not invented until the early 1900s. Therefore, the reasoning behind daylight savings gradually began to change: it was no longer a method of increasing visibility and sunlight, but a way to conserve electricity. (As less electricity is used considering an hour’s increase of natural light.)

Unfortunately, the theory about saving electricity has recently become irrelevant. With the widespread and often constant use of phones, cars, lights, and an increase in twenty-four hour business, the amount of energy saved during Daylight Savings is trivial.

Additionally, the impact of daylight savings in modern day is under debate because of its negative medical effects. Due to the abrupt one-hour shift in the body’s natural rhythm, some professionals blame daylight savings adjustments as the cause for sleep-related safety issues (like car crashes), heart attacks, and worsening mental illness.

To sum it up, the bill to end daylight savings makes sense because it is losing its importance; it doesn’t save electricity, and has detrimental medical side effects. So perhaps that extra hour could be making a much bigger impact than we think.