Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Saving Daylight Saving

It saddens me that me so many of my fellow Nevadans are so quick to condemn Daylight Saving Time, simply because within their own minds they cannot immediately see a useful purpose for it in their own lives.

The mere idea that we as a collective society should cast out that which we do not understand rather than investigate, out of our own curiosity, precisely “Why do we do this seemingly useless and painful, life-interrupting exercise twice annually?” is simply not a way to conduct ourselves.

I can open up a smartphone and peak at all of the bewildering doodads and conclude
“I have NO idea how this works.”

When my brain concludes that it does not have enough information to “make sense” of this operation, it does not negate the fact that the device at hand “works”. This would be a ludicrous protocol for human existence.

I may not know how my smartphone works, but I can easily deduce how it might assist me in my daily life.

For example, especially in the more tropical latitudes such as we, the days get longer during the Summer months (and shorter during Winter months), which means that the sun rises earlier. Obviously. Right? Which in turn means that You (or your children) will rise earlier every morning (presumably). In this scenario, turning the clock forward during the longer days actually allows you to preserve your regular sleep/wake schedule- just not on day one.

This is your first benefit. Now that the sun is rising an hour later, naturally, it must also be setting an hour later, which equates to games of basketball, dog walking, bicycle riding, swimming, BBQ’s and so much more which can be accomplished during the more desirable Daylight hours.

Yes. It is a difficult concept to wrap your mind around, but try to stay with me here for just a few more moments and I will leave you to your own disposition.

One of the other original intentions for creating DST was to reduce energy costs. The benefits of which are still highly debated and inconclusive, however, you might recognize some potential benefits of conserving energy in your own life, if you can imagine that you use the lights in your home for one hour less each night. In 18th century Europe, the idea equates to conserving candlesticks by rising an hour later in order to burn fewer candles each night. A concept that I believe translates well into our modern energy production and consumption habits.

Now, here comes Republican State Assemblyman Chris Edwards and he has a proposal in Nevada to keep Daylight Saving Time, as in “spring forward in March” indefinitely and never “fall backward” again.

On the surface, one might see the idea of extending DST to be year round as a positive move.

“No more changing clocks! Woo hoo!”

Imagine for a minute, truly imagine, what this would mean.

The days will continue to get shorter during the Winter. The sun will rise later and set earlier. If we decide to save ourselves the agony of changing the clock, we will set ourselves up for sleeping in too late, starting our days in the dark, sending kids to school in the dark and so on.

More importantly, the majority of the entire English-speaking, Western world will still be practicing DST. Which means that if Nevada were to stop adjusting their clocks in Spring and Fall, then we would spend half of the year in the Pacific time zone (PST)and half of the year in Mountain (MST). Living in the world in which we do, this means you would need to change your smartphone and computer settings from one timezone to the other twice annually. So, in essence, you will still be “changing your clock(s)”, except you will be changing your timezone and not the time itself. An even more bewildering concept, if you ask me.

Along with living in dual time zones comes your programming adjustments. Sure, more and more people these days are getting their entertainment from Netflix , Amazon Prime or their TV’s DVR system, but for a lot of people who still watch traditional television (or listen to radio), whether it be Jeopardy! or Sesame Street , their programs will come on an hour earlier or later depending on the season. Which might equate to adjusting the time that your family sits down to dinner (should they be so lucky to engage in such an evening ritual).

All but two of these United States, Hawaii and Arizona , practice Daylight Saving Time. KEEP IN MIND that the Navajo Nation inside Arizona DO practice DST. All but three European countries ( Iceland, Russia, Belarus ) practice what they call “Summer Time in Europe” , where clocks are moved forward one hour in Spring and Back one hour in Autumn to "make the most of seasonal daylight."

DST is currently observed by Turkey, Iran, Syria, Israel, Azerbaijan and Lebanon.

Unless the rest of the United States of America, Canada and Europe all want to call it quits for Daylight Saving, I think Nevada should keep doing what they’re doing. As it is, the benefits far outweigh the cost.

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