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Breakdown: We turned back time but why do we fall back

Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Daylight saving time ends the first Sunday in November and our clocks get turned back an hour. It started on March 14, 2021 and now the end is here. It officially ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, this is when the clock will get turned back one hour.

The sun will set in Memphis at 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 6. but on Nov. 7 it will set an hour earlier at 4:59 p.m. Days will continue to get shorter until the winter solstice on Dec. 21. that will mark the beginning of the length of days increasing until the summer solstice on June 21, 2022. The clocks will spring forward again on March 13, 2022, just 126 days after turning them back.

Benjamin Franklin is credited for coming up with the idea as he made the suggestion of using daylight more efficiently during his visit to Paris in 1784. William Willet proposed the idea to change the clocks in 1907. He did mention that it would save money to reduce the use of artificial lighting, but his main purpose was to increase enjoyment of sunlight. He lobbied Parliament for until his death in 1915, unfortunately, he died before the law was passed in England.

The first Daylight Saving Time policy started in Germany on May 1, 1916, the hope was that it would save energy during World War I. The rest of Europe got onboard shortly thereafter. In 1918, the United States adopted daylight saving time to save on fuel. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued that Americans getting off work while it was still light out meant they would be more likely to go out shopping after work in the evening. Some who lobbied for DST, suggested that daylight in the evenings, would mean fewer traffic accidents, and more daylight also could mean more outdoor exercise

President Woodrow Wilson wanted to keep daylight saving time after WWI ended, however many farmers didn’t like the idea because it would mean they lost an hour of light in the morning. Daylight saving time was abolished until World War II. Feb. 9, 1942 in the beginning of WWII, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established daylight saving time year-round. It was a free-for-all system in which U.S. states and towns were given the choice of if they wanted to observe or not. This led to confusion and in1966, Congress enacted the Uniform Time Act. This federal law meant that states who observe DST had to follow a protocol to cut down on confusion.

On the flipside research has found that Daylight Saving may not have saved on fuel after all. Researchers point out that lighting has become more efficient when it comes to lightning your home and doesn’t cost as much as it did in the past. The main driver of energy is heating and cooling of homes. Researched did find that the four week extension of extra daylight saving time that went into effect in the United States in 2007 did save some energy.

There are several states that don’t observe Daylight Saving Time. Those state are Hawaii and most of Arizona and U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile there are other states that want to make Daylight Saving permanent. The Five states are Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi and Montana. Those changes, however, require federal approval. Others also have bills pending in state legislatures like a few places in Canada.

Approximately 70 countries observe Daylight Saving Time. Most of North America, Europe and parts of South America and New Zealand while China, Japan, India and most countries do not. Those that use it in different countries, starts on different dates.

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