Change Your Clock

Tonight Daylight Savings Time clock changes are in order:

Saturday night or Sunday morning we will all mindlessly set our clocks ahead and bemoan the hour we won’t get back until October.

And on Monday and Tuesday, our risk of having a car accident will rise about 6%, research shows, as will our chances of being in a workplace accident. Productivity traditionally plummets too, in the days after a shift to daylight saving time.

So why do we all engage in this annual ritual?

Probably not for the reasons you think.

There’s a national myth that we switch our clocks to give more daylight to the farmers, but it wasn’t until 1966, when the farm lobby was shrunk and weakened, that their half-century of opposition to daylight saving was overruled.

Ben Franklin didn’t invent it either, although he did suggest that cannons should be fired off at dawn so the lazy Parisians of the mid-18th century didn’t waste precious daylight hours.

And, contrary to popular belief, switching our clocks doesn’t save energy — in fact, it adds to our tab.

The reason? The switch encourages us to spend more time outdoors in the evening, driving to shopping malls, patronizing local sports teams and stopping at the convenience store to fill up our tanks and ourselves, said Michael Downing, author of the 2005 book, Spring Forward: the Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, and a creative writing professor at Tufts University outside of Boston.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.


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