Before you go to sleep on March 9, you might want to set clocks and times on appliances (that don’t automatically spring forward) one hour ahead. It’s time to switch from standard time to daylight saving time.
Americans have been observing daylight saving time for 101 years now, since right about when World War I came to an end, according to the website Life’s Little Mysteries. But the idea originated with Benjamin Franklin in his essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” published in the Journal de Paris in April 1784. It was forgotten until 1907 when Englishman William Willett wrote a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight.” In 1916, Parliament introduced British Summer Time based on the concepts.
Congress enforced the time change nationally for the first year of its existence, then allowed states to decide whether to participate. Daylight saving time became mandatory again during the Second World War, but again, states were given the option to opt out when the war ended.
If you jump into your “way back machine,” you’ll recall that we used to turn our clocks ahead one hour on the last Sunday of April. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 pushed the date back to the second Sunday in March, presumably to give us more daylight earlier in the year, thus theoretically saving energy. Proponents for the change speculated people would turn lights on later in the day, possibly saving 100,000 barrels of oil daily, according to timetemperature.com.
Opponents of moving the time change to March said schoolchildren would have to wait in the pitch dark for the school bus. The airlines protested in 2007, when the change went into effect, that it would cost millions of dollars to adjust their schedules.
There are definite winners and losers when daylight saving time kicks in. Most notably are golf courses, which now has an extra hour of sunlight after most people get home from work, meaning more golfers will have the time to chase the ball.
Losers are thieves, who usually operate under the cover of darkness. During the extra hour of evening daylight, robberies decreased by 40 percent, according to data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System. Murder and rape rates also went down. Evening crime rates rose again, research showed, when daylight saving time ended.
Television networks also lose out, since more people are out enjoying the sunlight instead of hunkering down in front of their TVs.
And who are the No. 1 haters of the time change? Farmers. Humans may care what time the clock reads, but livestock such as dairy cows don’t punch time clocks. If they are used to being milked at a certain time every morning, they won’t adjust to the time change.