Daylight Saving Time: What Is It?

Many countries in North America and Europe are delaying daylight saving time until November 1st. The idea of daylight saving time is to extend daylight hours into the evening by one hour throughout the summer. The custom is known as European Summer Time throughout Europe. Typically, the clock advances in March and reverses at the end of October. Most nations in Europe adhere to this tradition. Among the outliers are Iceland, Turkey, Georgia, Russia, and a few more. March also marks the beginning of daylight saving time in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Cuba across the Atlantic Ocean. This year on November 5, the clocks will be reverted by one hour. Because the amount of daylight varies less in countries closer to the equator, they often do not observe daylight saving time. Some nations in Africa, Asia, and Central America do not alter their time zones.

George Hudson, a scientist from New Zealand who studied insects, came up with the concept of adjusting the clocks in accordance with the seasons. Hudson suggested a time shift in 1895 to increase the number of summer daylight hours. He could have used the extra time to capture insects after work. Nobody found the notion appealing until the European governments started looking for ways to preserve energy during World War I. In 1916, Germany became the first nation to use daylight saving time, and the United States followed suit in 1918. Some individuals think that the purpose of daylight saving time was to benefit farmers in the United States. However, farmers dislike the practice in general. According to the magazine Modern Farmer, Congress authorized the practice against the opposition of American farmers. Studies showing a rise in health problems, sleep deprivation, and traffic accidents in the days after the annual March advance of the clocks have been cited by opponents of daylight saving time. According to the Congressional Research Service, investigations on the topic have revealed little to no energy savings as a result of the time shift.

Since the beginning, daylight saving time has been a contentious topic. Certain nations have repeatedly accepted and rejected it. Uruguay, a country in South America, stopped the practice in 2015. In 2016, Chile substituted “wintertime” for it, running from May to August. In an effort to save energy, Egypt declared in March that it will resume daylight saving time after a seven-year hiatus. Japan debated implementing the practice for the 2020 Olympics, but ultimately decided against it because of low public support. There have been multiple attempts in the United States to permanently implement daylight saving time. The “Sunshine Protection Act” was a bill that was approved by the Senate but stalled in the House of Representatives last year. Legislators were unable to reach a consensus about the continuation of daylight saving time or regular time. This year, the bill was put out once more.


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