I won’t deny that I’m sensitive to changes in my routine; however, when I’m still waking up an hour earlier than necessary a week into daylight savings time (DST), I admit I’m a little cranky. My animals, also resisting the new sleep schedule, wake me up at 6 a.m. rather than 7 a.m. So, with purple circles under my eyes, I call for the abolishment of DST.
This practice feels outdated in today’s modern, technologically advanced society. In fact, Arizona and Hawaii don’t even recognize DST anymore because these states receive a sufficient amount of sunlight, which makes the time change redundant. Arizona opted out in 2005 due to the U.S. Energy Policy Act, and Hawaii opted out in 1933 via a repealed legislature bill. Why did this tradition see the light of day in the first place, and how does Montana sign up for the no-can-do list too?
A New Zealand entomologist named George Hudson originally invented this scheme in 1895. However, the idea wasn’t globally adopted until WWI, according to the National Geographic article “Daylight Saving Time 2019: The odd history of changing our clocks.” The war-torn European countries were searching for ways to conserve energy and increase daily productivity. Thus, Daylight Saving Time was created. But after the war, the U.S. was ready to return to normal time-keeping practices and fought for a repeal. The repeal was successful, but DST was reinstated during WWII. The history of DST remained relatively inconsistent up until the late 1960s, but most states currently recognize the time change today.
Some people look forward to the extra hour of sleep during the ‘fall back’ portion of DST, and it doesn’t seem to disrupt their sleep routine too noticeably. One of my coworkers admits to enjoying the dark, cozy evenings in the fall and preferring less artificial lighting provided by the ‘spring forward.’ Plus, tourist destinations benefit from the additional hours of shopping and touring the city. Another pro-DST argument is that the additional hours of sunlight are not only good for summertime activities, but they also allow for lighter evenings when driving home, thus reducing accidents. Moreover, some think the abolishment of DST would be confusing and going against tradition just to address the discomfort of two days in a year.
Be that as it may, I think that DST hasn’t been repealed yet because people are hesitant to change. It takes work to change nationally-acknowledged program, but this ‘tradition’ has only been accepted, shakily, for less than a century. It’s time for a new tradition where we don’t have to remember to change our alarms and every clock in our houses. In this modern age we have technologies like LED headlights and street lamps capable of producing sufficient lighting on the roads. Furthermore, in Montana where sunlight is a precious yet fleeting source of Vitamin D, DST can trigger depressive symptoms from the loss of daylight. The Time and Date website’s article “Your Health and Daylight Saving Time” highlights even more worrisome side effects, such as an increase in traffic accidents and workplace injuries on the Mondays following the start of DST due to the loss of sleep.
With the negative repercussions of DST in mind, I wanted to explore how Montana can choose to abolish DST. Further digging revealed this to be a state legislation job. According to the Montana Legislative Branch website, two sponsors, Republican State Representative Lola Sheldon-Galloway and Republican State Senator John Esp fought to abolish DST this year. Unfortunately both attempts were vetoed. So how can you get involved if you feel similarly to me? Write and vote. Write to your state representatives to appeal for the dissolution of DST, and do your homework before voting for your favorite politicians. It might change the course of time... literally.