Last Sunday, humans across the globe turned their clocks an hour back. The tradition, which dates as early as WWI, is beginning to be questioned whether it is truly needed.
Today, news of doing away with DST is spreading. However, how did such a useful idea become less desired? Well, we are no longer in a large-scale war.
The DST exhibit on webexhibits.org shows that there were two instances when DST was enacted. During WWI on 19 March, 1918, and during WWII on 20 January, 1942. They were enacted to conserve energy for the military fighting abroad that would otherwise be wasted for activities after dark.
However, in the age of convenience, we use energy regardless of the time of day. Because of this, it can prove to be less helpful.
When Indiana enacted DST in 2006, a study from Matthew Kotchen, an economics professor from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his PhD student, Laura Grant, showed that while lighting usage decreased, heating and cooling usage increased, making overall energy usage actually higher than before.
Not all implementations of DST are bad, however. In Germany, where overall latitude is higher than the USA’s, DST actually decreases overall energy usage. The topic is not overseas of course.
Whether we will see a trend of letting go of DST is yet to be known. However, one thing is certain, its future is not guaranteed.