Monday, March 05, 2007

Daylight Savings Time Begins March 11

Yup. You read that right. Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins next Sunday. Three weeks earlier than last year. And it will end the first Sunday in November so "it will make it safer for children to trick or treat" by extending evening sunlight hours through Halloween. The change in the start and end dates of DST are thanks to a law that US Representative Edward J Markey tucked into huge new energy bill that took effect this year.

I really don't mind the concept of DST (which was started by the Germans after World War I as a means of saving fuel). I support the idea that we should all conserve energy. The conservation of resources is part of our role as stewards of Creation. However, I don't think that this one month shift will do much toward energy conservation. David Prerau, who helped Rep. Markey draft the bill, admits as much:

Prerau and others remind critics that the coming change is a modest adjustment. Because each day as summer approaches brings a little more daylight, by the end of March early risers should see almost as much light in the morning as they saw before Markey's change took effect.

So why bother changing it if the positive effect is minimal yet will cause huge inconveniences and logistical problems in areas from agriculture to computers to airlines to religious worship? Because they are the government and they can, that's why. Oh, and the Congress wants to appear altruistic. Rep. Markey has promised that this change in DST will reduce crime, decrease energy usage, save money, decrease the number of traffic accidents, and "[bring] a smile to everybody's faces". (Really, he actually said that!)

If people want to conserve energy, they will. DST only extends evening daylight hours. This is the time period over which most people have the most control over their energy usage. If we want to conserve energy, we could get off of our computers, stop watching TV or go to bed earlier. During DST's morning hours, most people are leaving for school and work in the dark. That means that they have to turn on lights to get dressed, make breakfast, and collect all of their school/ work papers. Since we need to be at school or work at a specific time, no matter when the sun rises, we need that light in the morning when we have no choice but to get up and go.

Wow, who knew that a simple article on DST could get me up on my soapbox? *grin* Anyway, you can read the entire Boston Globe article here. And don't forget to reset your clocks this Sunday!

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