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Spring forward? Arizona is perfectly happy without daylight saving time, thank you
Sometime between when folks go to bed on Saturday night and when they wake up on Sunday morning, something magical will happen.
The rest of the country — save for here and Hawaii — will spring forward for daylight saving time.
Why does the majority of the United States act like time can be bent by government mandate (as opposed to traveling on a faster spaceship than your twin) and we here, in little old Arizona, thumb our nose at the idea?
Actually, about a fifth of the state – the Navajo Nation – DOES observe daylight saving time; maybe in an attempt to thumb their noses at the rest of Arizona’s nose-thumbing?
First, let’s talk about how we arrived at the idea that we can change time – without the help of a tricked-out DeLorean and a wild-eyed Doc Brown.
Our own Benjamin Franklin half-jokingly suggested to the French in 1784 while living among them that they could save a lot of money if they used the sun instead of candles to light their homes in the evening.
It probably would’ve been a good strategy for avoiding dog poop in Parisian streets as well, but it didn’t come to pass.
Englishman William Willlet gets the most credit for promoting daylight saving time in the modern era. In 1907, he put out a pamphlet called “The Waste of Daylight,” in which he suggested using a four-step process in April to move clocks forward by 80 minutes and doing the reverse in September.
But he was beat to the punch by George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist and explorer from New Zealand, who published a paper in 1895 suggesting a two-hour shift in the spring and fall.
But the idea didn’t get rolling here in the U.S. until 1918. In an effort to try to save money and resources during World War I, people started the “spring forward, fall back” routine.
Incidentally, this was more about what could be saved in American cities, not on American farms.
Despite the mistaken idea that daylight saving time was about farming, a lot of farmers hated the idea because, among other reasons, cows weren’t excited about being milked an hour earlier.
But maybe the worst part of how daylight saving time was implemented in the U.S. is that the Germans did it first in 1916 — yes, during World War I — when Germany was our sworn enemy.
I can almost hear Woodrow Wilson now: “Sure, Germany is trying to dominate Europe and is killing off our doughboys with mustard gas and all that, but daylight saving time?! Kaiser Wilhelm has completely nailed that!”
Fast forward to 1966, when the Uniform Time Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by Lyndon Johnson. It sought to create a more perfect union when it comes to how states applied daylight saving.
After this, Arizona put up with one summer of daylight saving time before the state Legislature — by almost unanimous votes — killed it off here.
The why is pretty simple: Would you prefer that the sun goes down around 9 p.m. or around 8 p.m. when it’s 3,000,000 degrees outside?
Yeah, me neither.
But, really, the rest of the country should follow our example because daylight saving time doesn’t work.
In the 1970s, a U.S. Department of Transportation study claimed that it brought about a 1 percent savings in energy use because people used lights less. But with the advent of air-conditioning across the U.S., those savings have pretty much been erased.
So, go right ahead, America. Do your silly, little daylight saving time thing. We are perfectly happy with what time it is right now in the Grand Canyon State.
And it’s just another reason to lean back in our chair and declare that the world revolves around Arizona.