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Is Daylight Saving Time worth saving?

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Is Daylight Saving Time worth saving?


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Round 1

Side 1: The very concept of daylight saving time (DST) is absurd in the modern context. When DST was proposed by George Hudson, he thought it would be a good idea to give people more light during summer, especially in countries and states where seasonal changes are sharp and winters are colder. Setting the time early lets people start early so that they enjoy more sun during their free time. However, we must consider the rapid advances in technology in the modern era and the complications that arise due to setting the clocks an hour backward due to seasonal changes, which, honestly makes this concept look quite asinine. One reasoning for using DST was that it could save electricity since people can go out and enjoy the sun instead of relying on artificial lighting. But since we’ve come a long way from power-guzzling incandescent bulbs to CFL and LEDs, it makes hardly any difference ($4 per household per year). Also, the fact of modern society’s reliance on climate controlled comfort indoors compared to the hot, sweaty, mosquito-ridden outside makes DST unnecessary or even counterintuitive.

Side 2: Less artificial light is still less artificial light. Even though we might not save as much per household as we once did, we are still saving energy. And when you add all the energy saved in the entire country, the difference becomes noticeable. In 2008, the Department of Energy found that just four weeks of DST saved about 1.3 billion kilowatts per hour. Why would we get rid of that saving? Also, despite our reliance on electronics for light and other climate controls, DST still has other benefits that can’t be ignored. Though it may not seem like a lot, these extra hours of daylight in the evening doesn’t just give us more sunlight and more vitamin D. No, it also gives us added safety. Studies show that longer daylight hours make evening driving much safer since it’s easier to see. Other studies have examined crime rates during DST and found that they drop when the amount of daylight increases. By continuing to keep DST in place, we would be protecting ourselves and others.

Round 2

Side 1: Au contraire, DST actually increases accidents following the switch to standard time due to drivers getting an hour less sleep than usual. Studies show that the week following the switch, there is a spike of about 20 percent in traffic fatalities. Moreover, this switch usually happens on a Monday, which also causes a spike in suicide rate and heart attacks due to insomnia. Productivity decreases due to people struggling to adjust to the new timing. Fitness does not depend on having an additional hour of daylight since despite 48 out of 50 states following daylight saving, studies show about 80 percent of Americans don’t get recommended exercise. Moreover, the switch affects timings around the world. If three people want to make a conference call from Sydney, London and New York, the different timings of the DST switch in each country causes them to turn back their clocks three times per switch. And if more parties are involved, that naturally leads to massive confusion since thousands of conference calls happen every day. Added to the fact that countries and some states in the US are inconsistent in following DST within their own borders, making matters much worse. Therefore, although there are some benefits that DST provides in places where daylight is a valuable resource, the hassle of changing clocks only to cause confusion and death is not really worth it.

Side 2: One big aspect of DST is that it can change how and where we spend our time. As stated earlier, the extra hours of daylight keep us safer from car accidents and from crime because of better visibility. Since we are safer during these hours of daylight, we can spend them out and about, from parks to malls to restaurants to beaches. We get more exercise without having to go to a gym. We can navigate traffic better to go shopping after work, rather than going after dark. DST can not only keep us safer, but it can keep us more fit and healthy. It can improve our moods, as we won’t be trying to complete countless errands in the dark. Also, because DST allows us more evening hours to get things done, we can be more productive. Statistics from several industries show that the economy gets a boost too when we have the daylight to reassure us and inspire us to be out there doing things. Is it inconvenient to change the clocks twice a year? Sure. Is it worth getting rid of because of that? No; the consequences would far outweigh the gains.

Side 1 argued by Vinay Pratapa

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Is Daylight Saving Time worth saving?