By Kaye Foley
As a sure sign that spring is near, we’re about to say “good bye” to Standard Time and say “hello” to Daylight Saving Time — yes, “saving,” not “savings.” On Sunday at 2 a.m., we “spring forward,” turning our clocks ahead by an hour.
But what is Daylight Saving Time?
It’s the practice of playing with time before the spring and summer months. Every second Sunday of March we turn our clocks forward and 8 months later we “fall back,” turning the clocks back by an hour.
The intention behind implementing DST was to conserve energy and increase our active daylight hours.
Except for Hawaii, most of Arizona and U.S. overseas territories, the United States and about 70 countries worldwide have Daylight Saving Time — sometimes known as “Summer Time” abroad.
Germany was the first country to observe DST (in 1916, during World War I) in order to conserve coal. The practice, used during wartime, spread to other European countries and the United States. After World War II, it was up to individual states in the U.S. to decide whether or not they wanted to use it. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established consistent start and end dates. And the Energy Policy Act of 2005 added four more weeks to DST, and went into effect in 2007.
Not everyone is a fan of Daylight Saving Time. In 2014, 43% of Americans said they didn’t think there was a need for it. Whether or not Daylight Saving Time actually saves energy is up for debate. Other concerns include sleep deprivation and associated risks, like car accidents and workplace injuries.
Still, proponents say the opportunity for an extra hour of outdoor activity during those months is good for our health and provides a boost to the tourism, retail and recreation industries.
So as we countdown to this weekend’s time change, when it comes to Daylight Saving Time, at least you can say, “Now I get it.”