By JACQUELYN SILVERMAN
Arizona Sonora News
For as long as I’ve been able to tell time, I have never had to deal with the enigma that is Daylight Saving Time.
Come Sunday November 6, most of the country will “fall back” and gain an extra hour of sleep as they switch back to standard time.
Arizona and Hawaii are the only states in the nation that don’t observe DST.
Why? What keeps us in harmony with the sun’s timekeeping, while the rest of the continental U.S. is out of step? I was raised in Arizona and can’t imagine a world where I lose or gain an hour of my day.
Daylight Saving Time was established in 1918 to save energy and fuel during World War I. Arizona wasn’t on board back then, but we were forced to participate for one summer after the Uniform Time Act of 1966.
A sweaty, miserable summer it was, too. State officials began to realize that more sunlight equated to more air conditioning and energy used. After a nearly unanimous vote, Arizona officially opted out of DST in 1967.
There’s a common misconception that Daylight Saving was created to help farmers by giving them more time in the day to plant their crops. It turns out this is a total myth.
“I know that Daylight Saving Time helps people in other industries, but I don’t see how it would have any benefit to farmers,” said Gene Giacomelli, the director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center and a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona.
So if the cows don’t care, what’s the reasoning behind DST?
Today, the purpose of Daylight Saving is to allow for more sunny hours in the evening, with the assertion that it conserves energy. “Springing forward” means more sunlight at night, with the hopes that homes won’t turn lights on as early.
Lucky for us, our hot climate doesn’t need those extra sunny hours. The earlier the sun sets in Arizona, the less air conditioning we use and the more energy we save.
“In the summertime, we want that sun to set pretty early because it’s so hot,” said Matt Brode, the chief meteorologist at KVOA News 4 Tucson.
Will the rest of the nation ever let go of Daylight Saving? According to Scientific American, citing a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Energy, eradicating DST could save approximately 0.5 percent of electricity per day. That’s enough to power 100,000 households a year.
“I like the fact that we don’t change, and I wish no one else changed in the country,” said Brode. “If you ask for my opinion, I think we should get rid of it all together.”
While the rest of the country is trying to figure out how to change the time on their oven clocks this Sunday, we will be waiting for the other 48 states to get on board.
It’s about time.
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