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We Set Our Clocks Back This Weekend–But, Why?

Saving Daylight, A longer day for the man with the gun and the man with the hoe.
Corbis, Getty Images

You know the routine. Spring ahead, fall back. In case you’d forgotten, this is the weekend we crank our clocks back an hour as we make the transition from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time. Many people wonder why we’re still doing it.

As you can see from the illustration at the top of the page, it’s inferred that soldiers and farmers would be be the major beneficiaries of Daylight Savings Time. But what about everyone else?

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Ask a bunch of people about DST and the twice-yearly changing of the clocks and you’ll get a wide variety of opinions. So, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of our current spring ahead/fall back schedule.


The Pros:

  • Daylight saving time (DST) decreases residential electricity usage
  • DST decreases the number of traffic accidents
  • DST reduces crime
  • DST increases recreational time
  • DST increases economic activity
  • DST brings a smile to everybody’s faces by providing more light and sunshine

And, the Cons:

  • The change to DST may disturb the rest-activity cycle
  • DST increases fuel consumption hence atmospheric pollution

Several places that I looked to for information also suggest that figuring out which direction your clock is supposed to go is very confusing for many Americans. Really? Very confusing is it? Yet somehow we manage to deal with a tax code that’s longer than the King James Bible? Come on, you’re making us look bad in front of the other nations that do it.

Here’s some more background on the whole DST thing:

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And here’s why we should dump it, according to Business Insider:

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I know, I know. You want Neil deGrasse Tyson to weigh in before you make up your mind. Fine.

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