It is that time of year! The time when snowstorms try to make one last stand before they have to succumb to blooming flowers and rain. The time when the hardwood ceases to be regularly polished so that the fields can be newly trimmed and painted. The time when we hope to abandon our heavy jackets for sweatshirts, and our sweatpants for shorts. We are all on the cusp of spring, and that means that it is time to set our clocks ahead. A lot of us don’t like this day. Are we not sleep deprived enough? If we are on a schedule, do we really have to sacrifice another precious hour of sleep to be on time? But, this day is so much more than a disorienting, lethargic succession of hours. It signifies the coming of the beginning of the end. The final stretch of the cold race we have been running since early November. Daylight Savings Time is the first step towards summer.
Try to remember the last time you arrived home from school with the sun high in the sky. For a great many of us, by the time we get home after our daily commitments, the sun is already waving an orange goodbye, or it has already disappeared over the horizon. Our day practically feels over by 5:30-6:00. By the time it gets dark, we know that we will most likely not head outside again unless it is to take out the trash or walk the dog. There is practically no time to shoot a basketball in the driveway before it becomes too dark to see, or read a book on the porch before the dark chill of night sweeps over us. However, during the summer, the day is still bright at 5:00. Think of the freedom we have, knowing that the sun will welcome us for hours to come. During the summer, we can stay outside for virtually as long as we want, and we are not tied down by homework or the similar duties that fall upon our shoulders during the school year. The beginning of Daylight Savings is our very first step of the year in that direction.
Daylight Savings Time also has a positive impact on our environment. Webexhibits.org’s page on Daylight Savings Time says that it saves energy, according to some sources. A 1975 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation said that Daylight Savings Time “trims the entire country's electricity usage by… .about one percent each day, because less electricity is used for lighting and appliances.” Webexhibits.org does acknowledge that over 70% of Americans get up before 7:00 and therefore sunrise during the summer, but this extra use of energy is compensated for in the evenings. The website’s article continues to say that during the summer months, people plan more events outside during the evening and use less electricity when they are not in their home, which makes up for the extra energy used during the day. Daylight Savings Time has positive effects for us, and the environment at the same time!
These are just two examples of why there is more to Daylight Savings Time, and the day that it begins, than meets the eye. This first day signifies the beginning of a time of social and personal freedom, where our evenings are no longer governed by the darkness of night. This is the beginning of the buildup to a time when we can stay out later and make room for all of those things we couldn't do during the winter. Also, this time of year is beneficial to our planet too, resulting in a decrease in energy usage which helps our environment. There is more to this day than losing an hour of sleep. In fact, this hour is next to nothing when we compare it to all that we have to gain over the next few months.