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This weekend, marks the end of Daylight Saving Time. This means that on Sunday, November 2nd, most Americans will move their clocks back by an hour, adding an extra sixty minutes to do whatever they please.
The odd ritual, which was first suggested in jest by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 as a way to reduce the use of candles, was not considered seriously until a New Zealander by the name of George Hudson proposed it in 1895. His main motivation was to get more daylight hours to pursue his favorite hobby - collecting insects.
His suggestion was followed up by British resident William Willett who proposed it in 1907 as a way to save energy. It took another nine years for time change to be adopted. Oddly enough, it was not the countries where it had been proposed, but Germany that voted it into law first. Britain followed soon after. Though the law was also adopted in the United States it was only enforced during the durations of World War I and World War II, to provide additional daylight for soldiers. Once the battles were over, the country reverted back to Standard Time.
It took another 21 years, before 'Daylight Saving Time' (DST) became a permanent fixture on the American calendar. The rationale behind reinstating it was that it would help conserve energy and provide farmers with an extra daylight hour to transport fresh produce to market. However Hawaii and some cities in Arizona decided it was unnecessary, and opted out.
Over the years, there has been an ongoing debate in the US about whether time change makes sense in this modern era and numerous initiatives to abolish it have been introduced in various state legislatures. But most lawmakers and businesses are against repealing the law. That's because while it may not do much for energy savings or farmers, the extra hour of daylight in the evening, does appear to help the economy.
According to experts it motivates people to head outdoors and spend money. Among those that have verified the monetary impact of dropping the time change is the Golf Alliance of Utah. According to their estimates abolishing DST would reduce play time by 6%, which in turn would hurt the State's economy by an astounding $24 million USD each year - and that is a conservative number!
While DST is probably here to stay at least for the near future, there is some good news. Thanks to former presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, DST dates have been changed several times. As a result, the dreary dark winter days have been cut by almost five weeks. That and the bonus hour we will get this Sunday is enough to have us looking forward to "Falling Back"! How about you?