Who’s to blame for Daylight Savings?
It is an unfortunately common belief that daylight savings was “the fault of farmers”. This belief is false. The American Farm Bureau Federation released an article early this year in hope to set the record straight. They have little hope that daylight savings will go away, but do hope that “maybe one day the sun will set on the idea that it started with farmers.” David Prerau, the author of “Seize the Daylight.” told the New York Times, “I don’t know how that ever became a myth, but it is the exact opposite.”
He said daylight saving time actually disrupts farmers’ schedules.
Livestock and plants do not know of the time change and move along as normal. Cows need to be milked at consistent intervals, thus the time change throws the day to day of the farm off an hour or more to accommodate the cows and to accommodate outside influences, like vendor sales and markets. In 1921, Massachusetts farmers banded together and sued the state for financial losses due to daylight savings and demanded that Standard Time be returned. They lost on both counts.
Daylight savings is marketed as a way to save energy, allowing more sunlight in the evening when people presumably spend more time at home. There is however a significant amount of studies stating that daylight savings leads an increase in energy use.
Michael Downing, a lecturer at Tufts University and the author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time.” claims that the sunlight at the end of the day encourages the American people to go out.
“We go to the parks, and we go to the mall, but we don’t walk there,” he said. “Daylight saving increases gasoline consumption.”
Mr. Prerau stated that the idea of daylight savings was rooted in candle wax, not electricity. The idea to change the clocks back was first done by WWI Germany, with the British and the US following shortly after. Mr. Downing said the idea was originally based on having “an eight-hour economy,” but electricity demand is no longer based on sunrises and sunsets.