Opinion: Just say NO to Daylight Savings Time
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Free Press Opinion Columnist
About a month ago we all had that delightful annual ritual of turning our clocks ahead.
Or in the case of the embattled, sometimes boozy Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, you might have followed his advice to be sure to “turn your clocks back.”
I don’t know about you, but I keep wondering why we continue this strange national happening. Do we really save time? Wow. How do we that?
We humans seem, after all, to be creatures of habit.
And one of my own habits is to be out of bed by 7 a.m. every day. Yep, even Sunday.
So a month ago I awoke at seven and discovered that somehow my cell phone, the TV set, and one clock said it was already eight. But the sun wasn’t yet up. Who stole that hour? Where did it go? At the end of the day it was sunset an hour later on the clock.
By and by I finally figured out that yes, it was again Daylight Saving Time. You know, Spring Ahead and Fall Back. The myriad clocks in the house, in the car and on my wrist had to be changed. Because the government says to do it. It’s policy, and we’re saving electricity.
I’m not going to belabor all the reasons why it is a lousy policy, but I’m glad Arizona and Hawaii don’t bother. Their clocks don’t change. Wouldn’t you know, their citizens think that’s just fine.
Now a month into our time saving, we do get up in sunshine and can go to bed not long after dusk if we want; after all, sunset is just about 8 p.m. these days.
Can you safely bet we’ll despise the “back” when Nov. 2 comes?
Maybe at that time we can do something. Maybe Twitter up a groundswell of ire, yelling at Congress to change the law. Or at least have Colorado do it. Keep it regular time. Or even keep it DST (Daylight Summer Time, Daylight Spring Time, Daylight Silly Time?); but don’t change the clocks any more. (BTW, Russia stayed on Daylight time year round. Just mentioning it.)
Just in case you have forgotten why we do this, think back to World War II; the policy was to “save energy;” more daylight for working hours, less electric demand.
We might have been smarter than to trust our politicians because it turns out today there is zero savings and a whole lot of cost, including some unexpected health costs.
Don’t take my word for it, but if we’re worried about health we ought to repeal DST immediately; there are more heart attacks then the norm after each change. Go figure.
As for saving electricity, it turns out that it actually costs more to save the time.
We just use more juice for expensive air conditioning; the Kotchen/Grant analysis of electricity usage in Indiana, where part of the state doesn’t change, said there are two costs.
One, the increasing costs for heating and air conditioning are two to four percent higher. That costs half the Indiana homeowners $9 million more per year. Two, the increased cost from environment pollution is as much as $5.5 million per year. A cost they didn’t track was the extra gasoline used for the additional recreation hours.
Bottom line? There’s no saving of any kind so let’s deep-six this outdated policy.
And since we’re all Americans let’s do it our way; yell at the government when we’re upset about it.
Think Nov. 2 for the target.
GJ Free Press columnist Ken Johnson is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.
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