Daylight Savings Time Sparks Controversy

By: Alice Zaniewski (Correspondent)

During daylight savings time, clocks are set ahead one hour, so the sun rises later in the morning and sets later in the evening. Eventually, the change is reversed in the fall. However, researches, governors, and activists are reevaluating the tradition of changing the clocks.

Many people dread the shorter winter sunlight hours. On social media, hashtags, such as #DitchTheSwitch and #LockTheClock plead for the end of the changes. In 2019, the majority of the US states have introduced legislation that supports permanent daylight savings time, although some bills favor all-year standard time. 

The tradition originates from the beginning of civilization, since people adjusted their daily schedules depending on the sun. Many years later in 1784, Benjamin Franklin published an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” which suggested that waking early would save money on candles. Then in 1907, William Willett wrote a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight.” Eventually, daylight savings time was formally imposed during World War I and again in World War II. Policies urged the reduction of electrical lighting, which directed more coal for the war and saved money. Today, daylight savings time is the norm across America. 

Permanent daylight savings time would mean a delayed sunrise in the winter, which worries the National Parent Teacher Association. “We are concerned with the safety of our children traveling to school in darkness,” said Angie Gallo, Florida Parent Teacher Association Legislation Chair. “If the Governor signs this bill and it is passed Congressionally then it would have our youngest children walking to school and waiting for the bus in the dark. Additionally, the U.S Department of Transportation claims the time switches decrease crime and save energy. 

“The clock changes already affect people psychologically,” said Officer Michael Hocking, School Resource Officer. Making daylight savings time permanent would also a big adjustment, but Hocking says that darker mornings would affect morning traffic to work and schools.

On the other hand, permanent daylight savings time would mean avoiding the incredibly early winter sunsets. In November, sunset occurs around 4:30 pm, and most high school students do not have a chance to enjoy what little light there is. 

“I miss when the sunset was later because now I have less time to spend outside,” said sophomore Dana Blatte. “I also get tired a lot earlier, which gives me less motivation to do homework.”

Digital photography teacher, Ms. Catie Konstas says that she would appreciate going home and being able to enjoy  more sunlight in the winter afternoons. “I would not mind a dark morning commute at all,” Konstas added.

In a tweet from March 2019, Trump says making daylight savings time permanent is “O.K with me.” So, if Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s bill to make daylight savings time permanent on a national level is passed by Congress and President Donald Trump, then when the clocks are set forward again, they will remain that way indefinitely. 

“It has become clear this antiquated practice no longer serves any purpose,” said Rubio. The idea of whether to remain on standard time forever or to adopt a year-round daylight savings schedule is a subject of controversy; however, it is clear that people despise clock switching.

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