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Spring forward! Change your clocks this weekend

Ashley Hunter:

Greene Publishing, Inc.

Daylight Saving Time begins this weekend on Sunday, March 10, at 2 a.m. (though most people opt to avoid any mishaps by changing their clocks right before they go to bed).

This change means that sunset will appear to be one hour later on March 10 than it was the evening before.

This change may be troublesome, but with longer days, the switching of our clocks ensures that we get to enjoy a bit more sunlight during our evening time. While Daylight Saving Time (regularly abbreviated into DST) is a common practice to many of us, it is actually not all that old.

DST was instituted during World War I when Germany began the practice in an effort to conserve fuel. Europe eventually followed, with the United States adopting DST in 1918. However, soon after WWI, the U.S. Ceased to implement DST, only for President Franklin Roosevelt to revive the practice in 1942 during the second World War.  In 1973, President Richard Nixon finally made the practice permanent for the United States when he signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act.

So, does DST conserve energy? It's debatable. A 2008 U.S. Department of Energy study found that Americans use 0.003 less energy when the time changed, but a study by the University of California-Santa Barbara found that energy levels might actually increase, as Americans used their air conditioning more during the warmer sunlit hours.

Some reports do suggest, however, that there are fewer traffic accidents, as most people are driving home from work before it gets dark and with longer daylight hours, full-time workers and students have more time after work and school for outdoor recreation and exercise.

Hawaii and Arizona do not observe DTS, and the U.S. Territories of Guam, Puerto Rice, Virgin Islands and American Samoa also do not observe the practice. Internationally, fewer than 40 percent of the world's countries observe DST. Among those who do not are Russia, China, India and Japan.

The time will change again on Sunday, Nov. 3, when it "falls back."

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