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Daylight Savings Time Spring 2014

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Gardeners everywhere… Daylight Saving Time or Daylight Savings Time is almost here. On Sunday, March 9, at 2 a.m., we need to turn clocks again… if we live in an area that supports the supposedly time saving effort.

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We’ve had that phrase “Spring forward, fall back’ drummed into our heads for many years. Now, when we discuss the coming Spring or Fall gardening seasons, we automatically think of Daylight Saving Time or Daylight Savings Time, or DST and the need to for all to turn clocks… spring forward or fall back.

Here’s a little history and pros and cons on this DST special effort that each household and businesses in most states and places in the world endeavor twice per year.

According to Wikipedia,

Definition of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time (DST), also known as Daylight savings time or summer time as some people might say, is the drill of moving forward clocks during the brighter months so that twilights have more apparent daylight and sunups have less. Typically clock dials or settings (if digital) are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in the autumn, or fall. Thus, turn clocks-spring forward, fall back.

Brief history of Daylight Savings Time

Benjamin Franklin, while he served as an American envoy to France and in keeping with his publication of the old English proverb, "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise", anonymously published a letter proposing that Parisians spend less on candles by awakening earlier to take advantage of morning sunlight. His first suggestion of a plan like Daylight Saving Time appeared in the Journal de Paris in 1784 in its “Economie” section.

The contemporary notion of daylight saving time was first suggested in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson and it was first employed by Germany and Austria-Hungary beginning on 30 April 1916. Before GV Hudson, William Willett, during a pre-breakfast ride, independently proposed DST in 1905 when he observed with sadness that almost all Londoners snoozed through most of a summer's day and advocated it tirelessly (see the slide show for pictures of both of these Daylight Savings Time proponent pioneers). Numerous countries have used daylight saving time at different times since then, most consistently since the energy crises of the 1970s as DST was thought to conserve significant amounts of fossil fuel energy.

Daylight Savings Time Praises and Criticisms

The turn clocks-spring forward, fall back exercise has been both praised and disparaged. Increasing daylight hours to evenings benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but may cause problems for evening activities, entertainment and other businesses tied to the sun (such as farming) or to nightfall (such as firework shows). An early goal of DST was to reduce evening use of incandescent lighting, earlier a primary use of electricity, todays heating and cooling usages differ significantly, and research into how DST presently impacts energy use is lacking or unreliable. Daylight Savings Time practices will probably continue to be debated for a long time, but for now the turn clocks-spring forward, fall back practice is continuing where locally acceptable. See the list of pros and cons at the end of this article.

Other Challenges of Daylight Saving Time

DST,the turn clocks-spring forward, fall back exercise of clock shifts present additional challenges. According to Wikipedia,

They complicate timekeeping, and can disrupt meetings, travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, heavy equipment, and sleep patterns. Software can often adjust computer clocks automatically, but this can be limited and error-prone, particularly when DST dates are changed.

Daylight saving time is presently practiced globally in around 70 countries. There the basis for DST is to improve the match between the daylight hours and the activity peaks of a countrys’ population.

Pros and Cons of DST (per Wikipedia)

Pros

1. Daylight saving time decreases residential electricity usage

2. DST decreases the number of traffic accidents

3. DST reduces crime

4. DST increases recreational time

5. DST increases economic activity

6. Daylight saving time brings a smile to everybody's faces by providing more light and sunshine

Cons

1. The change to DST may disturb the rest-activity cycle

2. DST increases fuel consumption hence atmospheric pollution

Be sure and watch the video to learn more of the pros and cons for DST.

And whether you are a believer and practitioner of DST or not, it may be here to stay. Get used to it and enjoy those extra daylight hours after work for your favorite gardening activities.

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