By the time you read this in print, we will have collectively made it through one of the absolute best times of the year, it’s the time when we spring forward our clocks to celebrate the antiquated tradition of daylight saving time. From here on out, the sun will set no earlier than 7:30 p.m., well at least until November. Happy days are truly are here again!
And I seriously want to know if I am the only one who has ever had the thought that we should not turn our clock back in the fall? For the longest time, I pondered that not turning our clocks back would not be good. I was taught that every action has a reaction, every rise has a fall, every ping had a pong.
By advancing our clocks one hour and not turning them back at a later time, we were collectively messing with high-level, cosmos-impact type of stuff. We would unwittingly create a world that we would not longer recognize; you know, the kind of world where the Browns win a Super Bowl. The kind of world where the North Koreans no longer want to build nuclear warheads.
But then I came to a realization. If man can conquer time and create a clock and decide to turn the clock back, why can’t we just keep it there? I mean, I haven’t read anywhere where it says we must fall back in November. Are we doing the world the favor by pushing our clocks back in the fall? Does the world actually really care?
Can you imagine a world where our clocks do not have to fall back? Can you imagine a world where your traditional Thanksgiving football game never has to be called on a count of darkness? Can you imagine a world where the first daylight on Christmas doesn’t show until about 9 a.m.? Can you imagine a world that on a cold winter evening you look at 5 p.m. and it doesn’t feel like midnight? Oh boy, I sure can!
Now I am sure there are plenty of unintended consequences of this train of thought. What about the kids going to school? We don’t want them walking to school in the dark. What about dark morning commutes? Plenty of drivers have a hard enough time getting around in the broad daylight. Having them to traverse in the dark of the morning may just be asking for trouble. I get it, but these are small problems in compared to the joy that can be had from having more time out and about in our later afternoons and evenings. I am convinced nothing is more depressing than driving home in the evening in the dark.
Daylight saving time was originally started in World War I as an energy conservation effort; once the war was won, our clocks got a rest. World War II brought back daylight saving time. Our clocks sprang forward in February 1942 and weren’t pushed back until September 1945 — over three-and-a-half years of sunnier evenings.
Daylight saving time didn’t become a codified law until 1966. Under the Uniform Time Act, Congress not only set dates for daylight saving time, but also set the rules for more federal consistency in the rules of time zones and daylight savings time observance. That first law set daylight saving time from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
In 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which changed the dates of daylight saving time to being on the second Sunday of March and end on the first Sunday in November. From the previous law, we have gained as many as five extra weeks of daylight savings time.
And knowing that our lawmakers never saw something that they didn’t feel needed some type of improvement, there will be a time when Congress will once again take up the issue of daylight saving time. Perhaps, the next time will be the time when we can make daylight saving time permanent. That would be one item of legislation I could get behind.
William “Bill” Lutz is executive director of The New Path Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.