Outdoor Guide Magazine

From the Editor

Daylight Savings Is a Good Deal

(Editor’s note: Outdoor Guide Editor Bobby Whitehead’s Dogwood Journal column is taking this issue off but will return in the July-August issue.)

For reasons I cannot comprehend, each spring and fall a debate rises to eliminate the practice of Daylight Saving Time. Some of that discourse even rises to the level of near outrage. (Just like about everything else these days.)
Fortunately, I believe the haters are the minority, and after about a week, most of them move on to something else. There are usually a few calls for legislative action to tackle what is obviously not the biggest problem of our time, and usually that fades nearly as fast.
There are a few inconveniences with our semi-annual clock adjustments, but in total, it is a plan with a lot of merit. I actually like it so much that rather than eliminating Daylight Saving Time, I think a better plan would be to make forward and backward adjustments twice a year.
Instead of proposing to abolish Daylight Saving Time, I think we should spring forward an hour on the second Sunday in March and another hour again on Memorial Day weekend. We should start our fall back on Labor Day weekend, and then finish it off on the Sunday after Halloween as currently scheduled.

Alternative fishing methods, such as bow fishing seen here, are becoming more popular in Missouri.
– Missouri Department of Conservation photo

In the United States since 2005, we have had about four months of standard time and eight months of adjusted clocks, which has also been called Fast Time, War Time, and Peace Time, according to a pretty cool website called timeanddate.com.
When it was first officially established by Congress in 1966 through the Uniform Time Act, the two time periods were each about six months long. Energy saving has been the goal and reward of every incarnation of Daylight Saving Time since it was first utilized here during World War I and World War II.
The plan for utilizing sunlight more efficiently actually dates back to Roman civilizations, and in the United States is also often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who published an essay in the Journal Of Paris in 1784 suggesting that candles would last longer if people would get out of bed earlier.
I have friends and family in both Indiana and Arizona, two states that do not adjust their clocks each year. The Uniform Time Act allows states to opt out. But both of those places are on the western edges of their time zones, so they have a built in extra hour of sunlight as opposed to the states on the eastern side.
The first laws establishing Daylight Saving Time were implemented in Canada in 1908, and Germany was the first country to make it a national standard in 1916, followed by the United Kingdom, France and other European countries to minimize fuel use for artificial lighting. Daylight Saving Time is now in use in more than 70 countries around the world and affects over a billion people each year, according to the website.

Nothing beats a good old family fishing trip. An extra hour just extends the fun. – Missouri Department of Conservation photo

Now, let’s get back to that idea about a bonus round of time saving. By implementing the changes on a three-day weekend, our biological clocks (called circadian rhythm by the scientists) have an extra day to make the adjustment.
By the end of May, the sunrise in Missouri happens about 5:30 a.m. Allowing it to be dark again until about 6:30 and even earlier through June would keep the sun out until almost 9:30 at night and closer to 10 p.m. by the time of the summer equinox. That is a lot of extra light for fishing after work.
More hours to play daylight baseball or golf is another bonus, but admittedly the 7:30 a.m. sunrise in early September might be pushing the envelope a little far. Still the trade off of 8:30 p.m. sunsets until the end of August seems like a fair swap.
Even as it is currently implemented, I have always felt Daylight Saving Time was a good deal. I am happy to trade an hour of sleep time for an extra hour of daylight in the spring afternoons, and by the time late autumn arrives, that extra hour before the alarm clock beckons seems like a real bonus.
John J. Winkelman is community relations manager at Mercy Hospital Jefferson. If you have news for Outdoor Guide Magazine, e-mail ogmjohnw@aol.com and you can follow John on Twitter at @johnjwink99.

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