Spring has arrived:  Daylight Time to the rescue

“Spring Forward Day” was yesterday (Mar 13, 2016).  Therefore, Be It Resolved…Spring has arrived.  Purists may want to wait until the calendar officially flips to Sunday, March 20…but not us.

The Carteret County Chamber is the official Chamber of Summer…so we say, bring it.

One of the best inventions ever is Daylight Saving Time (DST).

The concept does qualify as an invention, because the guy who thought it up was a genius named Benjamin Franklin, who back in 1784 (at age 78) penned an essay, “An Economical Project.”

It dealt with the thrift of natural vs. artificial lighting.  Living in Paris at the time, Franklin rationalized that less fuel would be consumed in the lighting of oil lamps if there were an extra hour of daylight in the evening.

Part of the issue in Europe, according to Franklin, was the nocturnal tendencies of people in those times.  They would stay up half the night and sleep until noon, Franklin reported.  Get the day started early, he suggested.

In fact, he proposed the regulation that “every morning as the sun shall rise, church bells and, if necessary, cannon shall inform the citizens of the advent of light and awaken the sluggards effectually and make them open their eyes….”

Franklin was a morning person and made no bones about it.  One of his best quotations is:  “Plough deep while sluggards sleep.”

In 1916, England adopted “Summer Time” to conserve coal.  Clocks were pushed one hour ahead during the summer months.  The energy saving benefits (first outlined by Franklin 132 years earlier) were significant.

“Just as sunflowers turn their head to catch every sunbeam, so too have we discovered a simple way to get more from our sun,” reports the Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement.

Eventually, America caught on.

Writing for “National Geographic” in 2011, Brian Handwerk reported that “DST is a tonic for the tourism industry.”

He quoted Kurt Janson of the Tourism Alliance in the United Kingdom:  “That extra hour of daylight in the evening has a much larger impact on people’s ability to quit work and do something and engage in outdoor recreation.”

The U.S. tourism industry experiences a boost of about $5.6 billion annually under DST, Janson said.

National Public Radio cited studies by Michael Downing of Tufts University in Medford, Mass.  Downing says:  “People tend to shop more when the daylight hours extend later.”

Golf courses love it, convenience stores see a boost, charcoal makers see spikes in sales and garden centers dig it because gardening after work is a “great way to just change gears,” Downing noted.

“We read light as a reward and darkness as punishment, and so when we have an excess amount of light as we do in the long days of summer, we do seem to feel that the world is a more benign place,” Downing concludes.

Mike Wagoner, President