Daylight saving time is upon us and once again the world is considering the pros and cons of the time policy.
Although many believe daylight saving has to deal with farmers having more daylight to work, the truth about its origins and purpose today has little to do with working the fields.
“Daylight Saving has been an official ritual since 1918, when President Woodrow Wilson codified it into law during the waning days of World War One,” wrote the Atlantic. “Nowadays, its ostensible purpose is to save energy: One more hour of sunlight in the evening means one less hour of consumption of artificial lighting. In 2005, President George W. Bush lengthened Daylight Saving Time by a month as part of a sweeping energy bill signed that year, citing the need to reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil.”
Quartz reported on Indiana where, until 2006, had each county decide if they did or didn’t want to use daylight saving time. The researchers measured the electrical use of the counties forced onto daylight saving time after 2006 and compared their electrical demands to previous years.
“We find that the overall DST effect on electricity consumption runs counter to conventional wisdom: DST results in a 1 percent overall increase in residential electricity demand, and the effect is highly statistically significant," researchers wrote.
Many have taken to social media to complain about the lost hour of sleep.
The inventor of Daylight Savings should have to come put my toddler to bed an hour before he's used to.— Abe Yospe (@Cheeseboy22) March 9, 2015
Daylight savings time is dumb. The worst thing is Arizona doesn't do it. I hate for Arizona to have even one thing that they're right about.— Keith Lowell Jensen Ⓥ (@keithlowell) March 9, 2015
According to Slate, daylight saving time leads to a myriad of negative health effects from disturbed sleep patterns, a spike in heart attacks and a loss in focus. These effects translate to losses in economic gains as people adjust to the new time.
“All of these impacts have economic costs too,” the article states. “An index from Chmura Economics & Analytics, released in 2013, suggests that the cost could be up to $434 million in the U.S. alone. That's an estimated total of all of the health effects and lost productivity mentioned above.”
Slate also reported that the 10 minutes Americans take twice a year to change the time on our clocks could even translate to a $2 billion loss every year.
Some states have tried to get rid of it with mixed success. Arizona for example, no longer observes the time change. Utah lawmakers attempted to get rid of it but the bill died in committee this year despite a poll showing nearly 70 percent of Utahns support Arizona's approach.
"There's an enormous number of issues that are associated with this change that need to be studied in more depth," bill sponsor Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, said. "But at the same time, I'm disappointed because the public has spoken. They want us to make a change."