Today at 2 a.m, our clocks moved back an hour. For you sleep-deprived students, it means an extra hour of sleep. But on March 14, you’ll have to turn the clocks forward and lose that hour.
We do this every year. That is, unless our senator, Patty Murray, puts an end to Daylight Saving Time. According to Kiro7, Washington has been waiting on a federal waiver for two years already to put our Daylight Saving Time abolishment bill into effect. Murray has been looking for alternatives to speed up the process.
Why do we have Daylight Saving Time in the first place? During the winter, the sun sets earlier in the day. Daylight Saving Time gives us an extra hour of precious sunlight in wintertime. With longer evenings, we can spend more time outside in the park. It also “[gives] people more time to go shopping, to restaurants or to other events, boosting the local economy,” according to Time and Date. Because of this, we’d think that people would use a lot less electricity. It’d help our wallets and the environment. However, the difference is slight. The U.S. Department of Energy found that our energy use only decreased by 0.02% due to Daylight Saving Time in a 2008 report. So is this system really useful? Let’s look at other factors.
Do you know anyone prone to heart disease? According to Heart.org, “heart attack risk [jumps up by] 24 percent the Monday after switching over to Daylight Saving Time.” While these may look like just numbers and statistics, the people who experience this life-threatening and excruciating pain are very real. That can be your grandparents, your spouse or even you.
It’s not just your physical health, either. Healthline mentions that when the clock moves forward an hour, it can increase your risk of Seasonal Affective Depression. Pets are stressed by Daylight Saving Time, too. Live Science states that an hour shift “could cause animals psychological and physiological stress” because they are accustomed to certain routines and schedules.
I’m not done bashing Daylight Saving Time just yet. If you own a car, you know that car accidents can be a hassle to deal with. But if you’re unlucky, you could lose your life or become traumatized for life. U.S. News noted that “a 2014 study by the University of Colorado Boulder shows a spike in fatal automobile collisions during the six days following the shift … [partly due to] sleep deprivation caused by the spring transition.” Once again — it must be emphasized that these are not simply numbers. Real people go through this. Real people like you and me die from car accidents. And for what? So we can get an extra hour of sunlight in the winter. It’s simply not worth it.
Hawaii and Arizona have already gotten rid of Daylight Saving Time. Perhaps with Sen. Murray’s help, Washington can become the next state to do so. How can you help? First of all, you can sign this online petition on change.org. You can contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, who oversees Daylight Saving Time, to argue for change. And lastly, you can contact Sen. Murray directly, encouraging and supporting her action. Washington can abolish Daylight Saving Time with your help.