Will spring and fall still live up to their names?

Will spring and fall still live up to their names?

Isabella Pellom-Delucca

What happens when an annually observed event enacted into federal law for 104 years is going to be turned around? That’s exactly what’s happening with daylight saving time (DST). 


The origin: farmers had nothing to do with it

It’s commonly thought that DST was created in America to benefit farmers, but in reality, they were highly against it; they had to wait an extra hour for dew to evaporate to harvest hay, and cows weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules. Actually, the idea of DST was first brought forward by English builder William Willett. While on an early-morning horseback ride in 1905, he was struck with the thought that people in the UK should move their clocks forward by 80 minutes between April and October to enjoy sunlight more. Although he advocated for this to become law, the British parliament never considered his efforts. 


The spread 

On April 30, 1916, Germany and Austria became the first countries to practice DST. Being in the midst of World War I, they did this so that people wouldn’t have to begin using artificial lighting so early in the day, saving energy. In the next few weeks, other European countries joined them, going back to standard time after World War I, but spreading across most of Europe when World War II came about. The US started utilizing DST in 1918, though unpopular. It became mandated in 1966. 



On March 15, 2022, the US Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, proposing that on November 5, 2023, all states, besides Hawaii and the Navajo Nation of Arizona, will utilize standard time. If it passes in the House, President Biden will enact it into law. The current law allows states to not participate in DST but not to follow it year-round. If the bill passes, states that use DST will remain using it permanently. 


Most of Europe ended the use of DST on October 30, 2022. In the US, Mexico, Canada, Cuba, and Bermuda, DST will end on Sunday, November 6, 2022. As of the current situation, DST will be in effect again on March 12, 2023. 


Pros of DST

  • When springing forward, longer evenings motivate people to engage in outdoor activities, like walking and golfing
  • They also benefit the economy and tourism industry, as it gives people more time to shop, attend activities, eat at restaurants, etc. 
  • Pedestrian casualties are reduced by 13% during dawn and dusk 


Cons of DST

  • While the initial purpose was to save more energy by using less artificial lighting, with our massive usage of air conditioning units, more energy is being used regardless of the sun
  • More recreational activity causes greater gasoline usage
  • Our circadian rhythms get disrupted which affects our drowsiness; car accidents, miscarriages, and heart attacks increase in March
  • Early darkness in the fall contributes to bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder (winter depression)


We have become so accustomed to this system of time that its erasure will present new ways of living life that we’re not used to. Certainly, it’ll be intriguing to see how things unfold this fall and to see the future of DST. What are your thoughts regarding this? Did you learn some surprising facts? Let us know in the comments below.