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AS I SEE IT

Posted 3/10/15 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

If you were like most Americans, you probably struggled to get out of bed this past Monday morning, and when the clock finally reached your appointed bed time, you were wide awake.
Welcome to the annual time shift where everyone in the United States (with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii) turns their clocks ahead one hour in the spring as we usher in Daylight Savings Time.
So why does the majority of the world go through the twice-a-year changing of their clocks? You know the routine - spring ahead in the Spring, and then fall back in the Fall. That’s a good question.
Daylight Savings Time was first proposed as a method to conserve energy. The logic was that by having a little more natural daylight at our disposal, people and businesses would be able to keep their daily energy costs down. But considering that the majority of the United States and the rest of the world works on a 24/7 basis, that justification hardly holds much weight any more.
And there was the argument that more daylight would make us healthier and happier. To be sure, sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D, but experts have warned about spikes in workplace accidents, suicide and headaches - to name just a few health risks - when DST starts and ends.
What we do know for sure is that many businesses love Daylight Savings Time. Obviously, golf courses, zoos and other outdoor amusement centers love the extra daylight in the summer as do shopping malls and other retail stores. When people can shop in daylight hours, they do.
But some businesses aren’t lovers of that extra hour of sunshine in the evening - think drive-in theaters and movie theaters - or television and cable companies who recognize that if people are outside, they aren’t going to be sitting in their homes watching television.
So at the end of the day, the benefits of Daylight Savings Time continue to be debated. Some states are considering following Arizona and Hawaii in not making the switch to DST; and Arizona is even considering making the switch to DST just to be in pace with the rest of the country.
But for most Americans, especially those people who work the traditional 8 to 5 jobs, having that extra hour of sunlight in the summer that Daylight Savings Time affords them is the one thing that helps them get through winter. Those extra hours mean more time to be able to do outside chores, like mowing the lawn or spending time in their gardens. The extra daylight gives them more time for recreation and spending some quality outdoor time with their children. It gives them time to shop or visit with their neighbors whom they haven’t seen much of over the past five months of snow and cold.
Americans love Daylight Savings Time. Which is why we won’t ever be willing to give it up.
Oh, we may whine and complain about losing that hour of sleep one day each spring, but as soon as our bodies adjust to the new time and we’re back outdoors enjoying those long evenings of summer, you won’t find many people who think DST is a bad thing.