Ozark Outdoors

Daylight Savings Time begins March 13 for 2016

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Daylight-Savings-Time-BeginsDaylight Saving Time is just around the corner, and serves unofficially as the day when may us break out in a full-scale case of spring fever.

At 2 a.m. Sunday, March 13, most of us will be setting our clocks forward one hour before bed the prior Saturday night. The return of Daylight Saving Time (DST) means the Sun will rise a little earlier (at least according to our clocks) so if you’re an early riser, you’ll enjoy the rays as you have your breakfast. But you will also “lose” one hour of sleep.

According to U.S. law, states can choose to observe or not observe DST. At present, Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii, plus a few other U.S. territories, are the only places in the U.S. that do not observe DST and stay on standard time all year long. Indiana did not vote to observe DST until April of 2006. Previously, some of the states did observe it while others did not, which caused a lot of confusion for others not living in the state since Indiana is split between two time zones already, so the time difference became a challenge to figure out.

At least 40 countries worldwide observe Daylight Saving Time, including most of Canada except for the majority of Saskatchewan and parts of northeastern British Columbia. For obvious reasons, most countries near the equator don’t deviate from standard time.

Daylight Saving Time was widely adopted during World War I as a means to conserve energy. Benjamin Franklin was the first to suggest the idea of Daylight Saving Time when he wrote a letter recommending that people save on candles by simply adjusting their sleep schedules to match the Sun. He didn’t propose Daylight Saving Time, exactly, because time wasn’t as important in his day. These days, businesses, transportation, radio and television broadcasts, and much more rely on exact time in a way that couldn’t have been comprehended in Franklin’s time. Besides, wasn’t Franklin also a proponent of getting to bed early anyway?

Since Daylight Saving Time was introduced, lawmakers have, on occasion, seen fit to fiddle with it. This happened in the 70s, during the oil crisis, and again just a few years ago. Starting in 2007, Daylight Saving Time got longer, beginning in March and ending in November, instead of April and October, respectively. A few fussbudgets would just as soon not deal with it at all.

Traditionally, the changeover on your clock also reminds us that this might be a good time to change the batteries on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. However, some newer devices don’t need changing for several years.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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