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Daylight Savings Time: The When and Why

This post was updated on March 3rd, 2015 to reflect the correct dates.

As parents know, the upcoming “Spring ahead” due to Daylight Savings Time can be a big bump in the proverbial road of routines. Getting kids to be on time for church, school, soccer practice, or anything else that requires punctuality is tough enough. Add in a time-change twice a year and it can make for some tough transitional days.

This year, DST begins early in the morning on Sunday, March 8, and ends on Sunday, Nov. 1. However, because things may change over time, it’s best to check for updates by simply Googling “When is Daylight Saving’s Time?

Meanwhile, some believe all of this is unnecessary. And the annoyances have caused some to debate whether Daylight Savings Time even makes sense in today’s society. As you’ll read below – and see in the video – many are calling for an end to the practice. It makes one wonder, why do we do this in the first place?

Why Daylight Savings Time Exists

Daylight Savings Time (DST) isn’t the easiest concept to understand, but some sense can be made of it with a little history.

In New Zealand, entomologist George Vernon Hudson proposed the idea of Daylight Savings Time in 1895. As a man who enjoyed collecting insects, Mr. Hudson wanted more daylight to pursue his hobby after work.

The idea was that by shifting clocks ahead by an hour in the spring, and back an hour in the fall, we would have more hours of useful daylight for work and play (without having to wake up earlier), with additional benefits like energy savings. Over the years that followed, others developed similar proposals for various reasons, including the conservation of energy during the evening hours in summer.

Daylight Savings Time was first officially adopted in 1916 by Germany and its allies, during World War I, as a way to conserve coal. Over the next few years, several other countries adopted the practice, including the United States in 1918.

Today, Daylight Savings Time varies depending on location. In fact, DST has been adopted, adjusted, and abandoned by countries and states within countries over the decades that followed.

Some areas don’t observe it at all, while others have differing start and end dates, and this changes fairly regularly. In fact, two U.S. states choose not to observe DST at all, while Indiana adopted the practice state-wide in 2006 as several counties shifted from the Central Time Zone to Eastern Time, further adding to the confusion.

All of this and more is explained in detail in the video below. It’s an informative, if not confusing seven minutes, but it is nonetheless an interesting and efficient way to explain the concept and reasoning behind Daylight Savings Time.

As explained in the video, there are doubts regarding whether there is any real benefit to maintaining Daylight Savings Time today or in the future.

Due to the proliferation of electronic devices, power consumption doesn’t necessarily go down as the sun sets. In many cases, the use of electricity goes up during the day as people use TV’s, computers, air conditioners, and more. The light bulb just doesn’t use the portion of power it used to in the average home.

What do you think? Are there benefits to you? What would you prefer to see happen with Daylight Savings Time? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image by Paul Eggert [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons / Cropped from original

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Scott Holm

Scott Holm

Scott Holm is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff. Scott has more than 14 years of experience managing websites and publishing web content. As a tech-enthusiast, Scott enjoys writing about science and technology. Born and raised in the Portland, Oregon area, Scott is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities, including hiking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, and summiting some of the tallest peaks in the Pacific Northwest. Scott is married to his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, and has two loving kids, a dog (Nemo), and a cat (Gizmo).

Daylight Savings Time: The When and Why


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