Opinion: Daylight saving time no longer necessary

Emily Unruh

The manner in which we keep track of time is a social construct, and daylight saving time is one of the more controversial, outdated ways we do so.

The concept of daylight saving time was first introduced by George Hudson in 1895. The main motivator for utilizing daylight saving time is to conserve daylight hours as the seasons change throughout the year. This system benefits agricultural communities in particular, as much of their lives are based upon daily routines in maintaining crops and livestock. The German and Austrian Empire were the first countries to turn their clocks ahead in 1916. Two years into World War I, an effort to conserve fuel led the rest of the world to follow suit.

In that time period, it was beneficial to modern society to conserve daylight, and daylight saving time quickly became a popular mode of efficiency across most of North America and Europe. The majority of the world still follows this antiquated system today, but some states, such as Arizona and Hawaii, have abstained and refuse to acknowledge the time shifts. The rationale behind these two states’ hesitance to “fall back” or “spring forward” an hour throughout the year is that neither experiences major climate shifts as the seasons change. They remain sunny and warm for the majority of the year, and are not as saturated in farmland as other states. Therefore, Arizona and Hawaii feel that utilizing daylight saving time would be more symbolic than practical to their states’ communities.

Personally, I believe that daylight saving time is a completely outdated and unnecessary concept. In honor of daylight saving time this year, I even stayed up an hour later just so that I would be as exhausted as I would have been without the extra hour of sleep.

In a world where a majority of the population does not need to worry about agriculture time tables or fuel conservation in response to war efforts, very few people are affected by the time change. If we are perfectly honest with ourselves, aside from gaining or losing an hour of sleep, daylight saving time serves no real purpose anymore in modern society.

This is similar to the concept of taking the summer months off from school in the U.S. Our version of summer vacation was created out of necessity to accommodate agricultural society, but it no longer serves that purpose. Most of the world takes various medium breaks throughout their school year, rather than one large and a few small breaks. The fact that we still honor these antiquated concepts is completely impractical, as they no longer serve their intended purposes.

Some people still hope that we will do away with daylight saving time. Just this year, the House of Representatives put forth a bill calling for the U.S. to stop adhering to daylight saving time. While the bill did not garner enough votes, it did attract more support than was initially projected. Representatives from states such as Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island expressed interest in doing away with the system, but ultimately could not wholly back the bill due to various logistical concerns.

To speak plainly, daylight saving time is a nice concept and once served an important purpose, but enough is enough. Continuing to utilize it each year no longer makes sense in modern society. While of course doing away with the system would be a major upset initially, in the long run, we would hardly notice its absence.