Springing Forward | Sophie Shi
The month of March marks the beginning of Spring and brings exciting events such as St. Patrick's Day and March Madness into the spotlight. It also signifies the start of daylight saving time (DST).
This year, DST begins on Sunday, March 12, 2023, and lasts until Sunday, November 5, 2023. While most are probably familiar with this annual change in time, for those who need a refresher, daylight savings essentially alters all clocks to be set one hour ahead, creating a notion of “springing forward.” This shift in time will thus cause both the sunrise and sunset to be one hour later on March 12 than the day before, which will set a precedent for future days until daylight savings ends. In other words, there will be a decrease in light during the day, with the sunrise shifting from around 6:00 am to around 7:00 am, and an increase in light during the evening, with the extension of current sunsets from around 6:00 pm to around 7:00 pm.
Daylight savings was first adopted by Germany during World War I as a way to conserve fuel. It became popularized and the rest of Europe soon followed suit. The US attempted to adopt it in 1918, but it was unpopular and abolished once World War I ended. It wasn’t until 1966 during the passage of the Uniform Time Act that DST became standard in the US. Currently, all US states, excluding Hawaii and Arizona, observe daylight savings. US territories have also chosen not to embrace this time change. As exemplified by this year’s DST dates, clocks “spring forward” on the second Sunday in March and “fall back” on the first Sunday in November. In the past, however, clocks shifted ahead on the first Sunday of April and returned to “normal” on the final Sunday of October. Interestingly, the dates were modified to become what they are like today in an effort to allow children to trick-or-treat during daylight for a longer period of time.
For night owls, this upcoming forward spring might be a source of excitement and, in contrast, for early birds, a sore disappointment. Of course, for those who are indifferent, daylight savings is probably simply just an annual change in time. Yet, for those who are immensely passionate about the DST topic, it is important to bring the Sunshine Protection Act to their attention. First introduced in 2018 by US Senator Marco Rubio, this act aims to establish a permanent daylight saving time such that there is no longer any “springing forward” or “falling back” in US states that currently adopt the DST system. Supposedly, ending the one hour switch will bring about positive change, including a reduction in crime and a lowering of risk for heart attacks and car accidents. Although it initially failed to advance, upon the reintroduction by Senator Rubio in March 2021, the legislation was unanimously passed by the Senate on March 15, 2022. As a result, it was then sent to the House for action; however, it was here that the bill faced uncertain prospects. The death of the 117th Congress before any decision was made meant the death of the act.
Still, not all hope is lost for those who desire the approval of the Sunshine Protection Act. While prospects are low for passage of the act anytime soon, Senator Rubio is committed to getting this bill passed and plans to continue campaigning for it. In the meantime, we might as well just accept and enjoy the upcoming “spring forward.”