Let’s stop falling back

Johnson City Press • Nov 3, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Tonight many of us will forget to set our clocks back an hour as we return to standard time only to discover that we missed that extra hour to sleep in on Sunday.

In the digital age, though, most phones and cable boxes automatically make the adjustment for us while wall clocks, microwave ovens and analog watches stay unchanged. Depending on which room you’re in, you could be fixed on the wrong time or just live in a state of confusion.

And while that extra hour of sleep is pleasant, we can’t help but wonder why we still go through this yo-yo ritual every spring and fall, especially now that standard time has been reduced to roughly a third of the year.

We spend nearly eight months on Daylight Saving Time each year. The amount was extended by four weeks in 2007 as part of then-President George W. Bush’s energy policy.

Why do we have DST? To maximize the number of waking hours we spend with sunlight. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the time shift in the U.S., which joined other countries that had made the change in the name of energy savings.

Some question just how much energy we really save, but more waking hours in daylight also extends the amount of time farmers can work in the fields and everyone can enjoy outdoor activities.

Is the benefit truly worth the effort and confusion?

Tennessee lawmakers have weighed in with various bills in recent years in efforts to lock the state into a single year-round clock. One proposal would have even placed the whole state in one timezone, essentially giving Middle and West Tennessee year-round Daylight Savings, while sticking those of us in East Tennessee on Standard Time. Thankfully, that died in committee. We like those extra summer hours, too.

But the sentiment was on target. In winter months, many of us never see daylight at all. We go to the office in the dark and return home in the dark. Year-round DSL would mean at least a little sunshine.

Having a single time makes sense logistically, but going back to Standard Time for the whole year is unpalatable.

It’s our hope that one day, Tennessee — or the nation as a whole — will spring forward and stay that way.

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