Daylight Savings and the Sunshine Protection Act

Daylight Savings and the Sunshine Protection Act

We all complain when we must either set our clocks forward one hour. It messes with all our sleep schedules and makes us all feel more tired than usual. What many don’t know is the origin of daylight savings and why we do it.

Officially, daylight savings was implemented in order to save light and use more energy during the spring and summer months. In 1908, Thunder Bay, Canada was the first place to implement this system. Although some Canadians had done this first, Germany was the country that popularized DST. They did this two years into WWI in 1916, claiming that it would help to minimize the use of artificial lighting in order to conserve fuel for the war. Currently DST is used in over 70 countries.

As of recently, a bill was passed in the U.S Senate that would make DST permanent starting in 2023. It is called the Sunshine Protection Act. This would mean no more “fall backs”. The rationale for this bill is that it would promote more economic activity, allow children to play outside for longer, and reduce seasonal depression.  Before President Biden can sign off on the bill, it must pass through The House of Representatives. A poll in 2019 found that 70% of Americans would prefer to have DST year-round.

Many scientists and experts have come across the consensus that daylight savings is bad for our overall health. Standard time aligns more closely with the natural day, which makes it align better with our body. Scientists claim that the switch causes us to be out of sync. Forcing us to wake up earlier has also been correlated with sleep deprivation which leads to obesity, dementia, and other health problems. Parents are also concerned with this switch, as it would force kids to go to school in the dark. U.S senator Marco Rubio responds to this concern by stating that school should in turn start later if the act were to be implemented. Going to school in the dark is a danger for obvious reasons. Children are at risk of fatal car accidents, abductions, and more when going to school. This risk only increases when in the dark.

The fate of our clocks will be decided in the upcoming months. The U.S had implemented permanent daylight savings in 1974, but it was removed within months due to unhappy parents and fatal car accidents. Whichever way the Sunshine Protection Act goes, it is guaranteed that some people will be unhappy.