So how’s the whole “Spring forward” thing working for you? Did you grumble about losing an hour of sleep? Or see it as 60 fewer minutes till you can go paddling again, yaaay!! We did both.
To celebrate Daylight Saving (yep, singular) Time, we stumbled around in the dark Sunday morning, launched at sunrise, and startled a great many overwintering waterfowl. Apologies to hundreds of bufflehead ducks, several loons, and one very territorial Canadian goose! Can’t blame ‘em. They’re accustomed to having the Sound all to themselves this time of year. Just like we are.
Besides the Saving-singular bit, there are some surprising geeky things to know about Daylight Saving Time:
- It wasn’t Benjamin Franklin’s idea but William Willett’s—an Englishman who, from 1907 to 1915, spent much of his personal fortune evangelizing for the adoption of “summer time.” Everybody ignored him.
- The Germans did it first (April 30, 1916 in WWI) to conserve electricity. The U.S followed in 1918 but repealed it in 1919 because—another surprise—farmers hate it. Evidently, milk cows can’t tell time. The whole thing was so disruptive to rural life, DST disappeared—except in retail-rich NYC and Chicago, where folks continued to shift their clocks so they could goof off and shop longer.
- Daylight Saving resumed with WWII, got nixed again, but was picked up locally here and there until nobody knew what the hell time it was. In 1965, you could take a 35-mile bus ride from Steubenville, Ohio to Moundsville, W.Va. and pass through seven time changes. There were 23 different pairs of start and end dates in Iowa alone.
- The 1966 Uniform Time Act standardized DST at last. Sort of. Since it isn’t a law, if you don’t want to participate (like Arizona or certain Amish communities), you don’t have to. It’s a choice (as Arizona’s daylight-saving Navajo Nation will tell you).
- Most shocking: Daylight Saving doesn’t save energy. Any cost savings on lighting are more than offset by greater cooling expenses. And extra hours of recreational activity just lead us to burn more gasoline. Unless, of course, the “engine” is you. (Go, kayakers!)