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Do You Have the Time?

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Hey, Camp Folks!

Everyone’s favorite time of year is here—Daylight Saving Time. Today we Spring Ahead by setting our clocks forward one hour. By ‘losing’ this hour, the days stay brighter for longer as the year moves on until we Fall Back come the Fall season. If this sorta sounds like an April Fool’s joke that just won’t quit, you’re not alone. Plenty of people scratch their head as to why we still stick to this annoying time-change custom (or how it ever even got started).

There’s actually quite a bit of confusion as to what its original purpose was. Let’s investigate:

Not the Farmers’ Fault
Most people have heard that Daylight Saving time was put in place for farmers. The majority of farmers , however, opposed the time switch as they found it very disruptive. Farmers’ schedules are set by the sun and not the clock. Daylight Saving Time made life harder on a farm since they had earlier shipping schedules to meet for an operation based off the natural cycle. Many farmers tried repealing Daylight Saving in their areas but were unsuccessful.

A Real Whodunit…
So if it wasn’t for the farmers, who was the time switch for? Well, some people thought it was because of an essay written by Benjamin Franklin, but that turned out to be mistaken. One William Willet is credited with the idea as he wanted to encourage people to make use of the plentiful sunlight. Credit is also given to an entomologist (bug expert) named George Vernon Hudson in 1895, who wanted an extra hour of daylight for his studies. While no one knows quite who started Daylight Saving, Germany was the first nation in 1916 to implement the time switch in hopes of conserving electricity.

Daylight Saving: Optional?
Did you know that there are regions—whole states even—right here in the USA that don’t participate in the time change? Arizona as well as Hawaii have opted out of this custom. Plenty of territories like American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and more simply keep standard time throughout the year. There are also Amish communities across the country who don’t spring ahead or fall back. And plenty of countries (especially those near the equator) don’t adjust their clocks.

So for something that tends to mess with sleep patterns and has been opposed by so many throughout its history, why do we keep with it? That’s a good question—one that I ask twice every year. Laws and legislatures are funny things and they seem to require lots of effort to change. Arizona and Hawaii were able to repeal it, though. It is possible. You may just need to raise a big enough stink about it! In the meantime, remember to set your clocks ahead an hour and, as always, thanks for reading, Folks!


- John

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