Time to change time

I dropped into the Voyageur Motel on Monday morning, and those around the coffee table were complaining that they were tired and blaming it on the return to standard time.
The extra hour of sleep that they enjoyed over the weekend was taking its toll. The extra sleep was probably needed.
Daylight savings time seems to create lots of unusual stories. The best I have heard is that “the extra daylight sun hurts paint on homes.” The farming critics complain cows can’t tell time and that forces farmers to adjust their schedules.
One of the most popular ideas that surfaces annually is that daylight savings time should end after Hallowe’en, allowing trick-or-treaters more daylight and security as they go from door to door.
The change announced for 2007 will be a big bonus for candy manufacturers.
My son, who travelled to Namibia in June, discovered that their daylight savings time began the first week of September and runs through the end of March. So where he was six hours ahead of us in June, today the clocks of Namibia are now eight hours ahead.
The first use of daylight savings time began with the German armies in the First World War and was quickly adopted by the British in 1916. However, the first proponent of daylight savings time was Ben Franklin, who looked at it to reduce the cost of energy.
The idea grew from some of Franklin’s inventor friends who had created a new kind of oil lamp. And allowing for more light in the evening would reduce the amount of oil one would use in a year.
Franklin also had calculated that a family would save seven candles of light daily by changing the clocks (candles were the method of lighting homes in the evening back then).
However, it was a Canadian who made daylight savings practical. Sir Sanford Fleming advocated for standard time zones around the world, dividing the globe into 24 zones.
Up until 1884, each major community established its own zone. That made train travel very difficult.
Following the First World War, nations chose to stop using daylight savings time. But the need for energy savings during the Second World War prompted the Allies to again adopt daylight savings time.
That, too, was abandoned after the war. However, many communities in both Canada and the United States adopted their own versions of daylight savings.
I remember in my Scouting youth that we participated with U.S. Scouts in a camporee. Our daylight savings began the last Sunday of April, theirs began the Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend.
Depending on the nation the camporee was held determined which time we would use.
The vagaries of each community created problems for transportation and retail sales. Large corporations had discovered that the extra hour of daylight greatly increased sales.
Bus, rail, and air companies had to have large itinerary schedules.
Finally in 1966, a Uniform Time Act was established in the United States and was adopted by Canada. We sprang forth the first Sunday of April and fell back to standard time the last Sunday of October.
However, not all provinces follow suit. Saskatchewan, for instance, remains on standard time year round. Next year, for the first time, the state of Indiana will begin daylight savings time.
Over time, as nations, we have saved energy. We use appliances and lighting less during sunlight hours. During the energy crisis of 1973, the U.S. Congress extended daylight savings time to 10 months in 1974 and 1975.
They determined that the U.S. reduced its oil consumption by 10,000 barrels a day. However, it did not continue. That saving came reduced electrical use in lighting and use of household appliances.
Beginning in 2007, daylight savings time will be extended by one month. From studies of 1974 and 1975, researchers have found a reduction of traffic accidents during daylight hours, especially with commuters heading home after a day at work.
They also found that commuters had no increase in accidents travelling in darkness to work.
Similarly, because people are active in their yards and doing errands during daylight hours, there is a reduction in crime.
It has had an impact on recreation. The longer daylight hours have increased recreational activities.
The development of daylight savings time is seen as universal benefit.

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