Allow Me to Change Your Mind: Daylight Saving Dilemma


John Huber, Reporter

There is a certain time of the year when time either jumps forward or backward, making our lives feel like one time warp after the other. That time is known as Daylight Savings Time. There are polarizing opinions on when Daylight Savings Time takes place and if you should wind clocks forward or backward.

Speaking of turning back the clock allows me to do just that t- o see how this chronological shift got started.

Before the modern-day notion of Daylight Savings Time, night and day were divided into even 12-hour chunks no matter where you lived. However, ancient civilizations had already experimented with ways to extend or shorten daylight hours due to the position of the sun or moon in the sky.

For example, the Romans kept time with water clocks that had different scales for different months of the year. At Rome’s latitude, the third hour from sunrise (Hora Tertia) started at 09:02 solar time and lasted 44 minutes at the winter solstice, but at the summer solstice it started at 06:58 and lasted 75 minutes.

It wasn’t until the early 19th century when the prototype of the concept of Daylight Savings Time was proposed in court by Cortes of Cádiz, who issued a regulation that moved certain meeting times forward by one hour from May 1 to Sept. 30 in recognition of seasonal changes. The proposal, however, did not change the clocks. It acknowledged that private businesses were in the practice of changing their opening hours to suit daylight conditions, but they did so of their own volition.

Meanwhile, in the late 19th century, New Zealander George Hudson  presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society, proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift. More commonly, many publications credit the DST proposal to prominent English builder and outdoorsman William Willett, who independently conceived DST in 1905 during a pre-breakfast ride when he observed how many Londoners slept through a large part of a summer day.

We wouldn’t hear of this concept in North America until July 1, 1908, when Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada, became the first city in the world to enact DST. Port Arthur was later followed by Orillia, Ontario as well as Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the U.S with the enactment of the Standard Time Act of 1918 (called “War Time” when it was first implemented).

This later became more globalized duringWorld War II when it had an explosion of popularity in America and Europe in the 1970s due to the energy crisis. Permanent DST was enacted in 1974 but was repealed a year after, with many complaints of school-aged children and workers inconvenienced by the early morning darkness.

So Allow Me To Change Your Mind

Almost everyone who has left home for school or work during the morning can agree on this. When time falls back in the fall, it is more enjoyable since you get an extra hour to catch up on sleep you may have missed. Meanwhile, in the spring, that hour is taken away as time jumps forward, causing you to think you either overslept or haven’t gotten enough sleep.

Heck, if you slept between the hours of 2 and 3 a.m. during those times, it can be hard to notice immediately unless you wake up and adjust the clocks to read the correct time. However, with the re-emergence of permanent Daylight Savings time coming to the U.S, those worries about having to adjust the clocks back and forth depending on the season can go away but only for those states willing to take that risk or reward.

That means it will be confusing for those who live in states that practice the idea of DST and must adjust to the new system. I understand the intention of having the option to not follow DST in the future, but it will present new problems in substitution of the problems DST currently presents. If you like this new version of permanent DST, I won’t judge. I’m just cautiously skeptical of this change.