Daylight saving debate : What you need to know

Daylight saving debate : What you need to know

It’s the end of this year’s Daylight Saving Time again, so the debate starts again about the advantages of adjusting the time to save energy and boost the surplus of the country’s production.

Today, the whole country will adjust the clock moving one hour to return to Standard Time, and while it’s already a 98-year old tradition, some Americans prefer to abandon the practice because they don’t want to adjust the clock, whether it’s going forward or backwards.

Daylight Saving will begin again March 8, 2015, when clocks move ahead an hour for another six months, then back again for six months. So the cycle goes. DST, simply put, is supposed to make better use of time as daylight lengthens and shortens according to the cycles that create our four seasons.

“Spring forward; Fall back!” We’ve all heard the DST motto, an obvious play on words.

When the Mississippi Coast experienced its first DST on March 31, 1918, this newspaper quipped, “Monday morning will see workers arising earlier than usual, but the luxurious can remain in repose, but the hour earlier goes on just the same.”

Seafood factories, drug stores, trolleys, trains, schools, just about every thing and everyone in the Gulf region and the rest of country followed the advice to keep their schedules unchanged but their clocks changed. After all, war was raging. The DST rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort.

Enemy Germany was the first to institute DST, but Great Britain, France, other allies and the U.S. soon jumped on the DST bandwagon. After World War I, Americans returned to Standard Time, or at least their region’s interpretation of “standard.”

Then came World War II. Back came DST.

“The nation went on ‘War Time’ today, with all official clocks moved ahead one hour — for the duration,” this newspaper, then called The Daily Herald, reported Feb. 9, 1942. “War Time — President Roosevelt so named it — became effective by law at 2 a.m. Standard Time in each of the four time zones which divide the country.”

A later story: “The Southeast, it appears, is ready to turn clocks ahead an hour and go on Daylight Saving Time … Designed primarily to save electricity so that wartime industries will face no shortage.

“Governor Paul Johnson of Mississippi promised ‘100 percent cooperation’ … In Louisiana, Governor Sam Jones said his state was faced with no power shortage but ‘it probably would be confusing not to comply with the act.'”

The end of World War II brought a halt to wartime Daylight Saving, but some communities and states continued to play with time changes through local ordinances. Widespread confusion became obvious in broadcasting, business and transportation and farming, adding fuel to DST’s war of words.

The Uniform Time Act finally came in 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson told states that if they want DST, to begin it on the last Sunday of April and end it on the last Sunday in October. Later changes to the law have created state DST uniformity — except for Hawaii and Arizona which opt out.

Before ending this DST background check, let’s admit a common error. It’s Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. No “s.” Because “saving” acts as a verbal adjective, or participle, the singular is grammatically correct — even if “savings” so comfortably rolls off our tongues and just sounds right.

Weirdest of all is the official name. No daylight hours are saved and a mere changing of clock hands can’t add or subtract the amount of light in a given day. There is no time savings. Ever heard of Daylight Shifting Time? Should that be hyphenated? Guess I need the extra hour to ponder.