Does anyone really know what time it is (I don’t know)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so, I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We all have enough time to die
Lyrics, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”, recorded by Chicago, 1969
As the days start to get longer and people start adjusting to Daylight Savings Time (DST), the birds are singing and life is good, isn’t it?
The debate about changing the clock twice a year is back. The US Senate, in an extremely rare show of unity, passed a bill that would make daylight saving time year-round in places where both hours are observed. The measure has an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives.
Changing the clocks twice a year has always been a local decision. The federal government has no “clock police” to force states to comply.
As soon as the bill making daylight saving time the law of the land was passed in the Senate, standard time advocates took up their keyboards to do what people do at 21st century: snipe and disagree. Sleep advocates believe that standard time should be the time that is followed year-round, arguing that it better supports our normal sleep patterns.
Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of the disruption to my sleep patterns and used this space to complain about it, so I was intrigued by this potential change. Over the past two weeks I’ve read articles about the background of the clock change, the 10-month experiment of 1974 with year-round daylight saving time, and a few websites dedicated to both sides of the argument.
I found the stories about the year-round daylight saving time of the 1974 “Arab oil crisis” to be the most intriguing, because that would be the future we might expect if the planets lined up and that we actually went to summer time all year round.
President Nixon, during the signing of the bill on December 15, 1973, said: “…year-round daylight saving time, which will result in the retention during the winter months of an estimated equivalent to 150,000 barrels of oil per day will mean minimal inconvenience and equal participation by all. It was a noble thought, until it came true.
The problem with year-round daylight saving time or year-round standard time occurs at the extremes of the year. When the DST law came into effect in January, students were waking up and waiting for the bus in the dark with the sunrise at nearly 8:30 a.m. After children were injured in accidents, what was to be a two-year experiment ended in the fall of 1974.
If standard time lasts all year, the last sunset would occur just after 8 p.m. The sun would also rise just before 4:30 a.m. that day.
You could argue that fewer children are going to school unsupervised today than in 1974 as a reason for daylight saving time all year round. I believe the energy savings would be minimal, but it all adds up.
The more I read on this subject, the more convinced I become that the current system, while far from ideal, is probably the best. The Tom Stangl of twenty years ago would be very disappointed in me.
One thing is certain: whatever happens or not, people will continue to complain about the subject.
As always, I await your comments. You can reach me by email at [email protected], phone 715-268-8101 or write to me at PO Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.
Thanks for reading. I will stay in touch. Do not hesitate to do the same.