Daylight Saving Time - Dont forget to turn your watch back tonight!
Posted on October 26 2019
As Autumn and Winter approaches; we very quickly see colder weather, shorter days and the end of daylight saving time.
This international time initiative is followed by many countries around the world with the idea behind the clock shift to maximise sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere, with days lengthening in the spring period and waning in the Autumn. Many people remember the period by using the phrase “Spring forward, fall back”, with the thought that the time springs forward and falls back in the Autumn, resulting in people having an hour of extra sunlight during their day.
On investigation, the benefits are not absolutely clear to be ultimately beneficial; with many studies showing bad effect on health and energy consumption in fact being higher because of the initiative not a saving.
Why do we do this?
The Earth rotates on its axis in an odd manner; at roughly 23 degrees angle relative to its path around the sun. Locations along our Equator experience approximately 12 hours of day and night, however if you travel further north or south away from the equator the more pronounced the difference in day length between summer and winter, and the more likely the region is to participate in the time shift. In the summer the Northern hemisphere leans towards the sun, creating warmer and longer days, however in the south they experience short days of winter as it rotates away from the sun. This situation reverses every 6 months, with the hemispheres experiencing opposite situations.
When we were more reliant on coal for the world’s energy supply, daylight saving time was implemented as a method to increase daylight hours, with most participation from countries furthest away from the Equator.
When did daylight saving time begin?
History suggests Benjamin Franklin may have helped start the concept of daylight saving time back in 1784, when he wrote a letter to the Journal de paris in the 1780’s. Within the note, he expressed astonishment that most Parisians woke up long after the sun had risen and had eccentric ideas for them like firing cannons to wake people up from their sleep, taxing homeowners for having their windows shut and restricting candle sales.
Others credit a Scientist from New Zealand called George Hudson, who in 1895 suggested a 2 hour shift to allow for more post work bug hunting.Not long after, William Willett pitched a similar idea to prevent wasting daylight, bringing the concept to England's Parliament in the early 1900s.
In the end with resources becoming scarce during World War 1, Germany decided to move forward with the initiative, with the first day light saving time declared in 1916. The USA followed suit in 1918.
Back in 2018 Violeta Bulc: The European commissioner for transport, announced that the year's time shift would be the EU's last. In an article from Deutsche Welle, each EU state must decide by April 2019 whether to stay on summer or winter time.
For those of you in the UK don't forget to turn your watches and clocks back tonight!