By: Jack Benveniste-Plitt (12th Grade)
Time is relative. But it doesn’t have to be confusing.
This entire week, we have been trudging around the Hebrew Academy halls like zombies after Daylight saving time (DST) started at 2:00 AM on Sunday morning.
The tradition of “springing forward” and “falling back” was implemented during World War I as a way to save energy and money. A 2008 report from the Department of Energy showed that the eight-month period of DST conserved 1.3 terawatt-hours of electricity, which is .03 percent of the yearly energy consumption and an estimated 130 million dollars in savings.
However, the drawbacks greatly outweigh the benefits. Losing the hour of sleep in March throws off the body’s circadian rhythm and can have drastic effects for weeks. Researchers have found that heart attacks, car accidents, and suicide rates all increase when DST starts or ends.
In addition to the physical and mental toll that DST exacts on the human body, changing clocks twice a year makes everything a lot more confusing. Different countries begin and end their observance on different days, and some regions don’t even bother with DST to begin with. Many people interact with those in different time zones on a daily basis, and DST screws up a simple, well-known time difference.
What can be done to address this problem?
Time in and of itself is relative and the actual numbers that we use for time don’t really mean anything on their own. A permanent decision enacting DST worldwide or completely abolishing it might impact people immediately, but it would be the best long-term move. The dread of shifting clocks twice a year would disappear, and time would be a lot less confusing.
After DST began on Sunday morning, President Trump tweeted, “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!” Hopefully, this is a sign of future things to come and the problem of DST will finally be solved.