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The History of Daylight Saving Time and Its Effects

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Americans get ready to advance their clocks by one hour in anticipation of daylight saving time once more as spring approaches. Over a century of conflicts, confusion, and a desire to maximize sunlight gave rise to this practice.

The idea of extending daylight hours by changing the clocks was first put forth by British and New Zealanders George Vernon Hudson and William Willett in the late 1800s. Germany instituted daylight saving time in order to save energy during World War I, and other countries—including the United States—followed suit.

Unfortunately, the United States’ timekeeping was disorganized and inconsistent as a result of the aftermath of both world wars, which caused widespread confusion. As a result, the Uniform Time Act was approved by the US Congress in 1966, establishing daylight saving time across the country.

Even with its broad implementation, daylight saving time has generated discussion and controversy. Some argue against it, favoring either daylight saving time or year-round standard time.

But previous attempts to implement year-round daylight saving time, especially in the wake of the energy crisis in the 1970s, were met with opposition since they interfered with everyday schedules and made mornings darker.

However, some cities who were among the first to implement daylight saving time, such as Thunder Bay, Canada, have benefited from longer summer days. Thunder Bay, situated on Lake Superior, residents enjoy outdoor activities and quality spent with family during the long days that provide as a relief from their chilly, dark winters.

The beginnings of daylight saving time as a necessity during World War II and its effects on daily life continue to be major points of contention in the ongoing debate. Although some people may be annoyed by the twice-yearly shift in time, others relish the chance to enjoy the warmth of longer days throughout the summer.

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