Time to Scrap Daylight Saving? 28 Countries May End DST.

New Proposals to End Daylight Time

By Catherine Boeckmann
November 3, 2018
Clock in Grass
M.Vich/Shutterstock

It’s a popular myth that Daylight Saving Time is for farmers—a myth that some of us were taught in schools. This practice—which only became regular in 1966 (which may also surprise you!)—was challenged by farmers and is increasingly being challenged by modern society. Last month, Europeans changed their clocks back to standard time, possibly for the last time. Some states have also questioned the practice. Read on …

Daylight Saving Time in the 1970s

When I grew up in the 1970s, I remember Daylight Saving Time (DST) being popular. The government and schools seemed to promote it as a positive and beneficial force. When the clocks moved forward an hour in March, my mother would get a grumpy me out of bed and say, “Look! All you kids have more time after school to play outside!”  (As I consider my son’s 7th grade class, I ruefully think that this was a time when more kids played outside.)

Interestingly, DST wasn’t a regular “thing” until April 12, 1966 when President Johnson signed it into law. The Uniform Time Act established a system of uniform (within each time zone) Daylight Saving Time throughout the U.S. and its possessions. States were allowed to opt out (and some did).

Before then, DST was briefly used during World War I and World War II to conserve fuel—and then there was a short stint during the oil crisis of the early 1970’s under Nixon. (Read more about the checkered history of Daylight Saving Time.)

shutterstock_320805509_full_width.jpg
Photo credit: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Daylight Saving is NOT for Farmers

The myth is strong with this one. DST has nothing to do with farming.  In fact, farmers have often been the strongest lobby against the change. Farmers didn’t like DST when it was first introduced and don’t like it to this day.

During the first World War I experiment in 1918, farmers were extremely opposed to having to turn back and forward their clocks. Not surprisingly, it disrupted their schedules and made it more difficult to get the most out of hired help.

Imagine telling a dairy cow used to being milked at 5 A.M. that their milking time needs to move back an hour before the milk truck is coming to do a pickup. For the farmer—and the plants and animals—it’s the sun and the seasons that determine the best times to do things.

After the war ended in 1918, the DST law (which lasted 7 months) proved so unpopular with our agrarian society, the federal law was repealed (in 1919). Some state and localities continued the observance.

In the early 1960s, observance of DST was quite inconsistent across U.S. states. Businesses and transportation companies pushed for standardization. The farmers, however, were opposed to it.

shutterstock_398925817_full_width.jpg
Photo Credit: Zaccio/Shutterstock

Daylight Saving Extended in 2007

In 1986, DST began at  2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and ended at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.

Beginning in 2007, Congress extended DST with the assumption that energy consumption would be reduced. 

In the United States—as well as Canada—Daylight Saving Time:

  • Ends at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November (November 4 in 2018)
  • Begins at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March (March 11 in 2019)

So, Who Benefits From Daylight Saving?

Some constituencies profit from changing our clocks. 

  • For example, today, we drive our cars everywhere. The lobbying groups for convenience stores know this—and pushed hard for daylight saving time to last as long as possible.
  • Extra daylight means more people shop in retail environments. Outdoor businesses such as golf courses and gardening supply stores report more profit with more daylight hours.  

Does DST really conserve energy? According to Congress, this is the main reason for the switch. When the Energy Policy Act extended the hours in 2007, Congress retained the right to revert back should the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant. 

convenience-store.jpeg

  • Department of Energy report from 2008 found that the extended DST put in place in 2005 saved about 0.5 percent in total electricity use per day. However, the closer you live to the equator, where the amount of daylight varies little, actually increased after the clocks were switched.
  • In Indiana, where I currently live, the change to DST in 2006 actually cost us. Matthew Kotchen, a Yale economist, found a 1 percent increase in electricity use in Indiana. Due to higher electricity bills and more pollution, Indiana’s change ended up costing consumers $9 million per year.
  • Further studies in 2008 showed that Americans use more domestic electricity when they practice daylight saving.

Today, as modern society marches forward, the energy argument may become obsolete. In terms of work, we’re not really a 9 to 5 society any more. Factories have different shifts. Office workers use the internet. Farmers will use daylight hours, no matter what. At home, our electricity demand is no longer based on sunrises and sunsets. We drive instead of walking which means daylight saving actually increase gasoline. 

It’s quite possible we are now wasting energy. 

And with computers, TV screens, and air conditioning using more energy, more Americans find switching clocks increasingly unpopular.

shutterstock_318184772_full_width.jpg

Our Bodies, Our Health

Energy isn’t the only thing to be considered. What about our health? Polls show that the switch between Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time each year is miserable for most humans.

Clocks are man-made. Changing the time disrupts our body clocks or circadian rhythm. For most people, the resulting tiredness is more of an inconvenience twice a year. For many folks, however, it’s a more serious issue.

  • Studies show it leads to more car accidents and heart attacks—the latter by as much as 24 percent.
  • Studies link the lack of sleep at the start of DST to workplace injuriessuicide, and miscarriages
  • In the workplace, studies have found that there is a decrease in productivity after the spring transition.
  • What about November when you get an extra hour of sleep? The reality is that most people don’t sleep extra. And the disruption in the body’s daily sleep-wake cycle can affect sleep for several days.

See 5 tips to help your body to adjust to Daylight Saving Time.

You could argue it’s better for school children (not going to school in the dark); however, I’d disagree.

  • Teenagers definitely don’t do well with DST during the spring change when they lose an hour of morning sleep.
  • And consider the parents with small children; the kid that gets up a 5 A.M. will now be getting up the equivalent of 4 A.M. Parents will certainly lose sleep and spend weeks adapting twice a year—and studies show that their happiness levels are lower.

farmers-2343262_1280.jpg

A Movement to Abolish DST

Congress allowed states to opt out of Daylight Saving Time—though they they did not allow states to make daylight saving permanent. Either option would mean no clock changes.

  • Most of Arizona does not change its clocks. Perhaps this makes sense given Arizona’s desert climate with hot temperatures and cool evenings.
  • Several states in New England — Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — have created commissions or introduced proposals to have year-round DST. These areas deal with very early winter sunsets. In New Hampshire, where The Old Farmer’s Almanac is based—the Sun sets at 4:14 P.M. on December 1. See your sunrise/sunset times.
  • California has also considered abolishing the practice.
  • This fall, the Florida Legislature passed the Sunshine Protection Act to make DST all-year-round—with overwhelming public support. That means no time changes with later sunsets (and later sunrises) all-year long. However, Congress has not approved Florida’s bill. (Remember: States can opt out of DST but they can’t go 100%.) When I think of my state of Indiana, which didn’t adopt DST until a decade or so ago, being out of sync with other time zones did create some problems attracting businesses to the state. 

As history tends to repeat itself, this issue of time zone coordination across the country is a clearly a factor. 

astronomy-3217141_1280_full_width.jpg

Our European Counterparts

This brings us to our European contemporaries. They also practice Daylight Saving Time. For most of Europe, DST:

  • Begins at 1:00 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday of March and
  • Ends at 1:00 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday of October

However, Europe recently proposed ENDING the clock-changing. This past September (2018), the European Commission proposed scrapping DST altogether for ALL of the European Union. That’s 28 member countries! If approved, the last EU-wide clock change would be on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (In reality, it will take some time for this legislation to get approved.)

Other countries have ended DST. Argentina stopped daylight saving in 2009. Russia ended its daylight saving in 2014. Turkey ended DST permanently in 2016.

Just as is the case with North Americans, the EU population overwhelming wants to abolish DST.  A poll was conducted in which 80% were in favor of eliminating it.

The head of the European Commission, which drafted the directive to end DST, said, “It would be pointless to ask for people’s opinions and not act on it if you don’t agree with them.”

I find it interesting that the Europeans—who first started DST (with North America following)—are now proposing the end of moving clocks twice a year.

What do you think about Daylight Saving Time?  Tell us in the comments below!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Time changing

I really, really, really dislike changing time twice a year. It affects every ones life. Some people don't even realize the time change is affecting their lives. I am all for leaving the time alone.

DST

Really! An excercise in futility.

DST

I would rather stay with DST all year. I haven’t changed with this clock and it has felt weird and unnecessary having everything run an hour late. My animals are much more satisfied having no changes.

DST

I prefer to leave it on DST and NOT change clocks. I have always hated to change my clock, especially in the Spring. It takes me three weeks to adjust! Changing the clock twice a year just causes more health problems and accidents.

day light savings time

It doesn't save a thing, just makes every one mad and crazy. leave it one way or the other but stop this crap about turning the clock forward or back. leave it alone.

Day Light Savings time

I wish it would end, it doesn't benefit those that they claim wanted it.

dst

I don't like Dst Changing the time on clocks that do not automatically change is time consuming and if you forget you are either very lat or very early for appointments

Daylight savings time

I believe changing the clocks twice a year is ridiculous. It only accomplishes one thing, to make people miserable and animals too. I wish they would leave it one way or the other.

DST!!!! GET RID OF IT.

I REALLY HOPE THE STATE OF MARYLAND OPTS OUT! HUMAN BEINGS HAVE MAJOR HEALTH ISSUES BECAUSE OF DST, NOT TO MENTION THINGS LIKE AUTO ACCIDENTS AND HUMANS NOT BEING ABLE TO FEEL BALANCED! DST SIMPLY SAID IS NOT NEEDED, IT DOES NOTHING GOOD. HOPE OUR GOVERNOR HOGAN WILL OPT OUT ON DST.

DST!!!! GET RID OF IT.

I BELIEVE IT IS OVER ALL BOTH MENTALLY & PHSICALLY BETTER TO LEAVE TIME ON STANDARD TIME IT IS NATURAL AND LESS STRESSFUL FOR ALL OF US. DO AWAY W/
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME! WE DO NOT NEED TO GO ONE HOUR AHEAD IN MARCH IT IS STILL WINTERTIME. PLEASE LEAVE IT STANDARD TIME PLEASE! I believe ALL WILL
BE A HAPPIER, HEALTHY SOCIETY. ADULTS, CHILDREN, YOUNG & OLD AND ALL OUR PETS & OTHER ANIMALS AS WELL. WHEN WE USE DST I BELIEVE WE ALL FEEL A HUGE IMBALANCE IN OUR MIND & BODIES. DST MAKES NO SENSE, AT LEAST IN THIS DAY IN AGE. NO MORE DST

DST

DST is like cutting 4" off the top of the blanket and sewing it to the bottom. It doesn't make the blanket any longer.

Time change

Frank, your response is the best explanation. It doesn't matter what time we set the clock there are still 24 hrs. a day and the same amount daylight hrs. Nothing changes. Love the blanket scenario.

Daylight saving

I would vote to abolish daylight saving time. In fact, I don't know anyone who wants this change in time.

Get rid of it!

Get rid of it!

DST should be outlawed!

I am not a morning person, so getting up in the dark during DST is hard for me. I'm a bit of a night owl, so I don't care one way or the other about one more hour of light in the evening. My car has headlights, I have electricity and keep flashlights in the house for use outside & in the barn. Animals don't understand the time changes either. Horses kicking at the gate, cats walking on me. Oy!! This article was very interesting, and I think it just solidifies my feeling.

DST

I say get rid of it. This day and age it is not needed. Markets are open 24/7 doesn't affect energy, and farmers don't want it.

Daylight Savings Time

I hate daylight savings time with a passion! What kind of idiots do they think we are! Man cannot change the number of hours of daylight! My whole body is out of kilter every time we have to change. I think it is extremely unhealthy, both physically and mentally. I don't care which way it stays. Just keep our hours uniform, one way or the other, all year, please!

DST

I hate DST, when it changes in November I am always waking up an hour earlier. Just leave the Standard time in place. We have enough stress on our bodies without messing with the time.

DST

Why dont we just move our clocks 1/2 hour and leave it alone for the rest of time?
It makes sense

DST

When I get home from work in the evening I have several hours of farm chores to do. I greatly prefer to do it in the light so I don't wake up the chickens.

DST

I live in CT and would prefer DST all the time so we can enjoy more daylight. New England makes up the northeast corner of these United States and would always be in the dark with Standard Time. I want it dark when I'm sleeping and lightest during the day. I also feel it should be a State's right to determine, not Congress, because they never know what time it is!

DST

DTS doesn't change the number of daylight or dark hours. If someone wants to work late go for it. If someone wants to get up with the chickens go for it. Changing the clock is hard on school children. I need to work all the durn time.

DST

I think it should be abolished. Our children still catch the bus in the dark at times and unlike when I was small they have a bus stop blocks from home where we caught the bus in our driveway. I agree it doesn't help but for the life of me can't figure out why people want to stop it on DST instead of stopping it on standard time, real time in some peoples mind. There most definitely is an issue trying to decide what time it is all across the United States. Say you want to leave on a cruise from South Florida but live in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, you used to always know they were one hour ahead, now who knows what time it is not to mention doing business with companies in California.

DST

Sleep deprivation, depression and over all fatigue are mitigating factors in my belief that it's over all unhealthy.
I live in Indiana and remember changing clocks in the 70s and then for years we didn't. Insomnia etc declined. Now it is on the rise again. Especially for us as we are 20 minutes from the Illinois border. Makes zero sense for the average Hoosier when Mitch Daniels did this for his own business ventures.
Let me know and I will gladly be a part of whatever organization wants to rid Indiana of this horrible idea.

Get Rid of DST!!!

It has never really served any purpose they just cut one end of the blanket off & sew it on the other end!
Just another example of mankind thinking that they are improving on how God did things!
He knows better that we do!

Daylight savings time

Eliminate daylight saving time! It has proven to be unpopular and doesn’t save anything.

Good thought

That is the best I have ever heard it put. "About the blanket"

DST

Tell old Trump. He'll get r done!!!

DST

I would like to see daylight savings be left permanent in spring forward time so there is more daylight in the evening.

DST

I would like Daylight Saving Time year round. Spring forward and stay there.

Pages