A Medford, Oregon man hopes to have daylight saving time eliminated in Oregon by popular vote. If he and his followers gather the 117,578 signatures needed to get it on the ballot, the initiative may just succeed.
Daylight saving is a practice that seems to have little practical utility. Springing forward and falling back seems easy enough, but in practice it can be confusing. First, the name is a bit of a misnomer. No daylight is saved, it is merely reallocated to different ends of the day by manipulating the clock. One bit of lore holds that an American Indian said of daylight saving time that only the government could cut one end off a blanket, sew it on the other end and believe it has made the blanket longer. We are only fooling ourselves.
Sunrise and sunset depend entirely on the spinning earth’s tilt on its axis as it orbits the sun. In summer, when daylight lasts longer, the clock is set an hour fast, pushing sunrise ahead an hour, from 4:30 to 5:30, when most people are sleeping and sunset later when most people are awake. As the days grow shorter, the clock is reset to standard time, meaning the sun rises earlier in the day, allowing more people to begin the day with natural light.
All of this is artificial. For factory and office workers, whose movements are governed by the clock, daylight saving time can be a boon in the summer. But the semi-annual fiddling with the clock inevitably leads to confusion, and there is evidence that the manipulation isn’t good for the natural rhythms of our bodies.
A recent study suggests that the energy savings which originally prompted its adoption during World War I have largely evaporated 100 years later when artificial lighting and air conditioning adjust the light and building temperature.
Farmers traditionally lobby against daylight saving time – dairy farmers especially, whose herd’s milking habits don’t recognize changes in the clock. So it seems as though there’s little reason to keep daylight saving time. Perhaps if Oregon is successful in going either daylight saving 365 days or standard time 365 days, the rest of us can follow!
-Capital Press, December 17, 2015