Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Daylight Non-savings Time

I didn't know:

In 2005, when the American Congress voted to extend daylight savings by four weeks, pushing the start date back three weeks to today, it was advertised as saving Americans the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil daily. (The Star.com)

A new study out of Indiana seems to prove we are actually spending a lot more on energy because of the shift in time -- (the one that is making me still very sleepy this morning.)

Articles here (NPR) and here (The Star.com) talk about the study in depth.

When daylight savings was first conceived by Ben Franklin, the concept was all about lighting -- saving bees wax and paraffin. But far more than lighting, we now control the temperatures in our house in a way that Franklin never would have imagined.

The biggest shift, it seems, is in air conditioning -- evenings in the fall are pushed forward an hour, so the hottest time of the day moves into the dinner hour. A/C is electric, so a lot more coal is burned -- which is hard on the environment. People seem to drive more too, in their extra daylight, and we heat our homes at a colder part of the day in the spring.

Unforeseen consequences are everywhere. Newton's law of motion says that every action causes an opposite and equal reaction.

The study in Indiana was possible because for years many farmers maintained a natural time clock, following the sun instead of convention. It was recently mandated that those communities move to DST -- which created the perfect environment for research on the energy usages.

It feels unnatural, doesn't it? One look around the kindergarten and you'll see a bunch of beings fighting their own biorhythms and truth detectors.

Our control over our environment... Nature works, it seems to me this dark 6 a.m.; between people, between the earth and people. In the summer the kids naturally wake up earlier -- they sleep less too.

There's a new program which suggests combating global warming by shielding the earth from the sun. We strive to control everything -- from the temperature and the light to an emotion or a conversation.

Maybe we could find a way to make the days actually longer in the summer and shorter in the winter...

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