Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daylight Savings Rant

Last fall during the bi-annual time change, a friend of a friend on facebook posted something to the effect that daylight savings time was a relic of farmers and farming practices, and since farmers are a minority of the population, Day Light Savings should be removed.

As a homesteading/farmer type of person, I immediately and vehemently objected to his statement.  After all, he wasn't the one who was now milking goats in the dark because of the sudden time change at, nor any of the other chores that must be done before and after work.  My work hours certainly didn't change just because the time on the clock did, and instead all of our diurnal actions are shifted for this bit of tomfoolery.

So why do we have DST?  DST as a concept was suggested as early as 1794 by Benjamin Franklin, and was adopted in the United States in 1917 by an Act of Congress.  The basis for DST has always been energy savings, the idea being that people will consume less energy if they are maximizing their use of daylight hours. Unfortunately, studies don't bear out this assumption, but countries around the world continue to follow this principle.

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia:
The practice is controversial. Adding daylight to afternoons benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours,but causes problems for farming, evening entertainment and other occupations tied to the sun. Traffic fatalities are reduced when there is extra afternoon daylight; its effect on health and crime is less clear. Although an early goal of DST was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of electricity, modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited and often contradictory.

Who really benefits from DST?  Well, the pool and BBQ industry fronted the biggest lobbying checks that got the US Government to add an additional 4 weeks per year of DST, with three weeks in the spring and one week in the fall beginning last year.  Those don't sound like farmers to me!!

So tomorrow morning the sun will not rise until 7:15am and I'm back to milking in the dark in order to get to work on time. 

DST or not, spring is just around the corner, and I have the evidence!

Goats in the sunshine

Flowering quince

The rosemary is beginning to bloom

As is the calendula

And the lilacs are preparing to spring forth!

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