Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

Daylight Savings Time 2009: Why Can’t We Keep It All Year Round?

Sundial.jpgFirst off, no, it’s not today that you have to change your clocks. This year, we “Fall Back” at 2 AM on Sunday, November 1st. Secondly, I’d like to take issue with a whole society adjusting its schedule twice a year. I’ve always found it a huge inconvenience and a misery each time we find ourselves with darkness encroaching that much earlier in the evening, just when it’s getting colder and more bitter outside anyway. I say, if we’re going to have it, why not have it all year round?

Here’s a little history on Daylight Savings Time. It was originally conceived of by Benjamin Franklin, but not put into practice here in the U.S. until 1916. Basically, it was implemented to “make best use of daylight.” Some studies say that it saves a significant amount of energy. Most people, chicken farmers notwithstanding, seem to like it. So my question is, why do we only do it in the summer?

Also, I’d like to point out that studies have shown that pedestrian fatalities due to traffic accidents increase significantly every fall around the time DST stops being in effect. Trick-or-treaters are often mowed down by cars at dusk because of drivers who have not yet become accustomed to navigating the earlier darkness, which is why the clock change has been moved back one week recently, to avoid the holiday. 
So how about moving the reversion to Standard Time back to, say… never?
I take issue with my very biological clock being monkeyed with so casually.

I can get behind messing with Standard Time (sun at zenith at noon) once a year, if it’s really a national good, saves energy, helps people out, saves lives. But to yank that cushy rug out from under us at the dreariest time of year? At some point, shouldn’t popular will determine our very daily schedules?

On the level of a society making a decision that benefits some at the expense of others, cannot we put this to a vote again? It seems unethical that, in a democracy, our schedules are ruled by the whims of an outdated and, some might argue, ill-conceived system. Could not we request a more thorough study to determine whether it really saves us money? (Though, probably such a study would cost stupid amounts of money itself….) 
However, my research shows this HAS been voted on, about 60 zillion times in the past 93 years, and apparently, what we have today is about the best our government can do. So, seems we’re stuck with the system we have. Meaning, the government gets to tell us when it’s time to get S.A.D. (I jest.)
Before you say, “Oh, just get up earlier, you whiner,” explain to me how I can make my job’s hours accommodate that, and all the shopkeepers, government offices, customer service help lines, and TV, and… you get the idea. 
What I’m saying here is, I personally feel the institution of a law giving and taking my precious sunlight away feels onerous, and I don’t see how the benefit to society outweighs the burden to the majority of us.
Do you hate Daylight Saving Time? Do you love it? Do you feel legislating time is unethical?
P.S. – While you’re changing your clocks, I suppose it’s not a bad idea to change the battery in your smoke detector like they say. At least that’s one good suggestion!
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posted October 25, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I’ve always thought Daylight Savings Time was silly and we should just do away with the whole thing.

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Anonymous Cow

posted October 25, 2009 at 2:15 pm

It’s amusing how much this is important to people, and how inaccurate they tend to be about describing it. While no doubt the author knows we are not “losing” daylight, but rather shifting our perception of it, it seems inevitable that everyone always refers to daylight savings time in this way.
Personally, I would like to do away with daylight savings time as well. The government doesn’t have the power to really add or remove daylight to our day — that’s up to a long-term negotiation between the Earth and the Sun. Instead they are just mucking about with our clocks.
I don’t see the benefit for this regulation in today’s society where everything operates independent of the sun’s position already. If you have to get to work at 8am, you do so year-round, no matter where the sun is. Our stores close at 5pm (or whenever) regardless of if it’s dark or not.
Very few services change their hours based on the seasons (i.e. the position of the sun). When they do, it’s usually because no one wants to go swimming in the middle of winter, or whatever.
I would prefer it gone, thanks for the soap-box.

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posted October 25, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Daylight saving time benefits some special interests and hurts other special interests.
As to societal benefits, it is unclear whether the benefits are real and outweigh the disadvantages.
For school age children and their parents, it is a hardship. For all humans, the disruption in circadian rhythms is somewhat of a problem. A lot of people have some schedule flexibility at work, and if they prefer an extra hour of daylight in the PM at the expense of the AM, they could try to adjust their own schedules to fit their own special needs best. It is unclear why we need to make everybody get up 1 hr earlier most of the year. Tre negative health consequences that we do observe are likely the tip of the iceberg.

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posted October 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm

The problem with having daylight saving time all year round is that you’d be getting up and going to work in the dark during December and January. I find that very demoralizing.
It makes sense in the summer time. The sun comes up so early that by the time you wake up to go to work the sun has already been up for a couple hours, and that daylight is wasted. By pushing the clock forward one hour, you take an hour of wasted daylight and move it to the end of the day when you’re actually awake and can use it.
But it makes no sense in the winter. The sun comes up so late in winter that it’s still dark when you wake up it barely gets light when you’re ready to go to work, and when you get off from work it’s dark already. If we pushed the clocks ahead an hour in winter, you’d have an extra hour of daylight in the afternoon but you’d be driving to work in the dark when you’re still sleepy.

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posted October 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I understand that this law is intended to give more light to the farmers, and in recent times, to save energy.
I have a hard time believing that 300 million Americans should be made to adjust just so 40 million farmers can have an hour longer day in the summer. Think about this: does an extra hour in the evening make up for the lost hour in the early morning?
I can remember in school how bad i felt for a couple months after DST in the fall, and then you finally adjust, and you spring ahead. It’s a vicious cycle. I’ve never liked it, and you have my vote to get rid of it for good.
PS- My friends in AZ love not having DST.

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posted October 25, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I hate changing the clocks twice a years, and adjusting my sleep patterns accordingly. It isn’t bad in fall, when I gain an hour of sleep, but to lose an hour in March after winter is unpleasant. Let’s get rid of this outdated trend. Most of us are not working the land anymore (perhaps unfortunate, but true).

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Charles Cosimano

posted October 26, 2009 at 2:03 am

I don’t have a feeling on it one way or the other and I cannot for the life of me see how it figures in any sort of ethical debate. But as a practical matter, in the winter having the sun come up at 9 am is a bit of a nuisance even for us late risers.
The energy saving argument is, of course nonsense. People are just going to get up, turn the lights on and leave them on all day. And the big power users, the televisions, the computers, the stoves, etc, are not going to run any the less for daylight or lack of it.

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posted October 26, 2009 at 2:33 am

Standard Time is an issue of safety in the winter in the northern US. Take a city like Muskegon, MI — located on the western side of MI. It’s on the very western edge of the Eastern time zone, which means it has late sunrises and sunsets. And it’s fairly far north, which means less total daylight in the winter. In October, the sun is rising after 8:00AM. Kids are already going to school in morning twilight. Without the change to ST, kids would have to walk to school in total darkness as the sun would be rising after 9am in December. Many places need that hour of light in the morning, and wish that the change came earlier in October like before.

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posted October 26, 2009 at 8:32 am

End Daylight savings time for good. That the rest of the country has to adjust so farmers can see better is pretty out of date by today’s way of doing things. It’s such a miserably to keep on doing this yearly two times switch and adjust to hours. It’s long over due to phase out this ridiculous ritual that only makes people groggy confused and miserable, more so than they already are. I don’t even buy the energy conservation argument, that is just ridiculous and a poor excuse by those who are keeping this nonsensical observance going.
We have two states in the country that don’t do it, lets make it all 50 that don’t and end this nonsense. The hour is what the hour is , we shouldn’t be tampering with it for inane reasons like farmers and light and energy. How about the over 200 million that don’t get affected by these things. Should they have to go through this all the time to keep some old out of date tradition going? I say no. End this please.. I hope sometime in my lifetime Day Lights Savings is put to pasture on those farms for good. End the madness that is this silly observance forced on us. NOW!!

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posted October 26, 2009 at 11:20 am

Daylight savings time comes from the mayan times, when they got rid of the extra hour in order for the calendar to be correct, just imagine how off our calendars would be if each year we missed an hour of time…it adds up.

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posted October 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Like it or not, does the event really effect your life in ANY way, apart from having to wind the clocks forward once a year, then back later in the year?
Do people honestly believe that daylight saving time gives them an extra hour of sunlight a day? That sunlight is there regardless of the time on the clock. It is your choice to be awake during it or not!
You do not miss an hour every day of winter. Days are still 24 hours long. So, the night is one hour shorter for ONE night during fall. Think about how you GAINED one hour during spring. Want to put it in a trust fund and save it for later use?
And newsflash… cows do NOT wear wristwatches! They cannot tell what time of day it is when they are being milked. All dairy farmers I have ever known, work by the sun, not the clock.
Oh, and your curtains will not fade just from the “extra hour of daylight”… really, trust me on this one.
No, it is NOT a good idea to just leave the time an hour ahead… ummmm, guess what, there is a whole world out there that runs on different times, leaving the clock in the United States an hour ahead means adjusting GMT.
Oh, you have kids that won’t go to sleep because it is still light out. Does that hour make a different? Buy some of those no fade curtains I mentioned and send the rugrats to bed with a firm command!
Now I understand, it is an inconvenience to have to adjust the clocks… get over it! Use the time as a reminder to check smoke alarm batteries, it is a good suggestion.

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posted October 26, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Cows may not notice the difference, but cats do. After about a week past the time change, mine start demanding breakfast when they know I’m going to be getting up, rather than when they had breakfast the week before. If cats can figure this out, why can’t cows?

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posted October 26, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Actually, the worst idea about time zones that I ever heard was some idiot proposing that the entire globe should operate on a single time zone. So what if that means the workforce in Bangalore is stumbling around in the darkness all day every day, just so the folks in New York can have sunshine when they wake up?

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posted October 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Standard time should be the norm. Get your a** out of bed when it’s DAYLIGHT at 6:00 am, not having to get up in the DARK until we turn the clocks back. I LOVE having early morning daylight and couldn’t care less for that ‘extra hour’ at night. Standard time should be just that:STANDARD. All this BS about saving energy is BS. In California, that ‘savings’ means having to run the air conditioner longer in the summer because of that ‘wonderful’ extra hour. Give me the morning light and let it get dark when it’s supposed to.

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Your Name

posted October 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Thankfully our clocks stay the same yearround here in AZ, Tough luck for the rest of you whiners

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posted October 27, 2009 at 5:15 pm

I am all for keeping Daylight Savings time permanently! The time change really effects my body – it takes me weeks to adjust both in Spring and Fall. I work with children, and the time change is very evident in their work and temperment.
Arizona is doing it – let’s join them!!!

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posted November 1, 2009 at 2:02 am

I live in NY and I hate the whole daylight savings thing. It was so much better in AZ where we didnt have to worry about it and we always had plenty of sun! I think the American people need to stand up and be heard!

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Your Name

posted November 1, 2009 at 9:01 am

Here in Cancun Mx.we turned our clocks back on the last Sunday of October. So for one week we were 2 hours eariler then the USA.
The whole think is nothing but one BIG joke.

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posted November 1, 2009 at 10:30 am

Ao everyone knows, daylight saving time is spring summer, standard time is fall winter. So when arguing for against know which is which. I like most despise standard time, this needs to be done away with and just stay on DST. It’s been proven that it’s more energy efficient and it reduces crime by having that extra hour of daylight at the end of your winter day. Not to mention emotionally it’s more uplifting to have more daylight at the end of the day. It’s certainly nice that DST has been extended about 5 weeks from where it used to be in 07. It’s a start, I believe eventually we will have DST all year and they will do away with Standard time.

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John Anderson

posted November 1, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Daylight time all year long would result in many folks setting summer and winter hours, or at least changing what time that they do stuff. DST assumes that one is a complete slave to the clock, that one cannot do a certain task until the numbers line up, which, to me, is ridiculous.
I started to pare back my morning activities in September as the sunrise got later and later. Being retired, I can do that!
Twice a year changing clocks is a nuisance. Next thing they will want us to slide our thermometer glass up or down twice a year, to keep summers cooler. Same logic!

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Mark Benderson

posted November 2, 2009 at 12:47 am

I HATE standard time! It takes me a good week to get adjusted and I just plain hate not having more daylight at the end of the day. I thought of doing my own boycott of standard time but when I figured out the logistics of it, it is nearly impossible to do. We would need to do it as a country to for it to work. The question is, who do we go to to get Daylight Savings Time to be the new Standard time year round?

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posted November 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm

I absolutely HATE standard time with a passion. It makes no sense to have the sun setting at 4:30. As a young lady who works till 6pm I absolutely hate having to walk to my car alone in the dark in Midtown Atlanta. I wish I could find statistics on the number of rapes and muggings that happen during standard time. I’m sure there is an increase.
I truly don’t feel safe having to leave at 6pm in the dark, often having to go shopping after work when I’m alone. I am for leaving DST year round. Winter is the most miserable season, at least make it a little more tolerable by not having daylight end so soon.

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Your Name

posted November 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I think most people like to have sunshine later in the day when they get out of work. The commute goes faster. Daylight helps reduce energy costs. People feel better. It encourages people to go out more, to shop, to eat out, which is good for the economy. Most crime occurs at night, not during the morning. The more sunlight later in the day; less opportunity for crime.
Most farms today are totally automated; they don’t need any light! Why let the few remaining roosters push us around? Daylight is your right!
I’m putting together a website to gather political support to change the clocks to give us more sunshine (not less like we have now). If it’s dark in the morning, who cares? You will be at work, or school! We want daylight! It’s your right! Who will join us?

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posted November 13, 2009 at 1:05 pm

The problem with having Daylight Savings through the winter, and I’ve thought about this before as well, is that it would get light too late in the morning at higher latitudes.
I live in Vancouver, Canada (right on the Canada/US border). As it is in December and January sunrise isn’t until 8am, with sunset just after 4. Moving to daylight savings would mean it would be dark until 9am. Can you really have kids walking to school in the dark?

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posted November 19, 2009 at 5:31 am

When Day light Savings starts i don’t really find any difficulty, i in fact enjoy that time period. I really feel as if Day light savings remains the same for whole year so that we can enjoy for whole of the year. It fun at that time.

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posted April 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I am in complete support of observing DST year round. It is advantageous for many, many different reasons but I am certainly more sane when I am not going to work in the dark and arriving home in the dark. If I was a vampire, maybe this would be more suitable. The reasons we don’t observe DST year round are outdated, in fact the whole system is outdated. My advice is to chat with your Representatives and Senators in your district and also to the members representing you in the Federal government. They have the power to change it, they just need to hear from their constituents. So, don’t lose hope, I am trying to find a way for Colorado to observe DST year round, though it appears to be a bit of a struggle! Good luck!

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Laura Markley

posted November 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm

I have a circadian rhythm disorder. I already have trouble keeping my body’s clock timed properly with the rest of the world. Changing the time just makes it impossible. What others may take a week to adjust to, it takes me at least a month or more. Having it dark so early makes me depressed and disoriented. It is yearly torture. I HATE it! It is one of the worst parts of living in California in my opinion. If we put this to a vote today, I would do away with all of this time change nonsense. Give us sunlight later in the day!

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Your Name

posted March 13, 2011 at 9:08 am

I can’t believe people get so worked up about this. It’s just an hour either way, no big deal. I get up to go to work at 4 a.m, so it’s always dark when I wake up whether it’s daylight savings time or not. I do not find this “demoralizing” in any way. That’s a bit dramatic.

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Kathy H

posted November 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I have been talking to the state rep. for our district here in Ark. He told me I would have to get 65,000 some odd votes to send to the sec. of state by July 2012 to see if we could get itpassed through senate to keep DST. I would need a lot of help with this matter.

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