Local residents are tired of "springing forward" and "falling back".
Right at 2:00 a.m. Sunday it happened. The moment we all dread. The clocks “sprung forward” as Daylight Saving Time began across the country.
As weary Portlanders rubbed their eyes and rolled out of bed at what was effectively an hour early, many of us had to wonder: what on Earth needs to happen to eliminate Daylight Saving Time in Oregon?
As it happens, voters across Oregon and several other states have already enacted legislation to end the twice a year “spring forward and fall back” of the clocks. But Daylight Saving Time remains. Why? And what can Portland do to help?
Why Do We Have Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight Saving Time, often incorrectly called “Daylight Savings Time”, started being used in 1918 in the United States.
Daylight Saving Time was intended to adjust the clock in order to create more daylight hours at the end of the day. It was thought that would help farmers during the spring and summer so they would have more time to work their crops.
The measure was also intended to save energy by reducing the number of hours people had to use their lights. Recent studies have claimed that the energy benefits of Daylight Saving Time are minimal.
In 1966 the Uniform Time Act made it an official policy across the country.
Although it was a federal initiative, states did not necessarily have to comply. Federal law allows state legislatures to exempt themselves from observing Daylight Saving Time, but they cannot make it permanent. This means they can refuse to “spring forward” but if they do, they can’t refuse to “fall back” again.
The states of Hawaii and Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation) decided that Daylight Saving Time was not for them. Several U.S. territories also waived implementation of Daylight Saving Time, including American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
They have no doubt been gloating ever since.
The rest of the country settled into the bizarre ritual of re-setting time twice a year.
Despite growing opposition to the practice, the Department of Transportation, which oversees all things related to time zones, proposed an update of the time change dates, moving them to different weeks as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
How Do We Get Rid of the Time Change?
Changing the clocks between Daylight Saving Time and Standard time is not only reviled because it’s a hassle, but it’s also dangerous.
Numerous studies have shown that the semiannual shift in time has negative effects on people’s circadian rhythms, which impacts sleep. Interruption in sleep after a time change has been positively correlated to increased rates of heart attacks and car accidents. This is true in Portland as well as the rest of the country.
States continue to try to end the semi-annual changing of the clocks. An estimated 350 bills and resolutions have been passed in nearly every state in the country. Some bills propose to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, while others proposed to make Standard Time the permanent time in their state. They all agree on one thing: the time change has to go.
Fifteen states have enacted legislation calling for Daylight Saving Time to be observed year-round, including the West Coast block of Oregon, California, and Washington.
Unfortunately, it’s not totally up to the state. As much as Portland and the rest of the state may wish it wasn't true, Congress needs to officially change the practice.
But hope is on the horizon.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) has joined forces with four Republican and three Democratic senators to propose the Sunshine Protection Act. If enacted, the “Sunshine Protection Act” would eliminate so-called Standard Time, which runs from November through March, and make Daylight Saving Time be the norm.
“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” Rubio said in a statement that likely brought the most bipartisan agreement that this country has ever seen.
If there’s one thing that can unite this country, it’s the dreaded twice-a-year time changes.
What Can Portland Do About Daylight Saving Time Changes?
The first thing to do is to try to mitigate the impacts on your health. Try to go to bed a little bit earlier the next few days as your body adjusts to the shift. You don't have to worry about too much sunlight this time of year, so cuddle up and listen to the Portland rain on your window as your drift off to sleep.
You should also try to get out and enjoy the daylight. Spending time in nature is a great way to reset your internal clock. Even though it’s raining, you can still head to numerous Portland outdoor recreation sites to soak up the rays that are lurking behind the clouds. Here are some ideas:
· Go check out the Portland Rose Garden and see if any of the roses are starting to bud
· Take a walk on the Eastbank Esplanade
· Hike in Forest Park
· Take a walk around downtown Portland
You can also contact your Congressional representatives. Dop an email to Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and ask them to support the bill. (While you’re at it, thank them for supporting you by voting for the latest Stimulus Bill).
Oregon has five elected officials in the federal House of Representatives. Most of the Portland area is represented by Rep. Earl Blumenauer or Rep. Suzanne Bonamici If you’re not sure who represents your district, click here.
Here's hoping that this weekend was the last time we changed our clocks in Portland.
#portland #oregon #daylightsaving #legislation #sleep