It’s Time to Save the Sunshine in Florida
What would you do if you had more time on your hands? Maybe you’d plant more crops, plow more fields, or perhaps log a little extra leisure activity for yourself. OK, the last one might be a stretch, but it’s nice to think about.
Like clockwork, we gain an extra hour of daylight every spring, but give it back come fall. Spring forward. Fall back. To what end? Historians cite Ben Franklin as the inventor of daylight saving. The original idea was to simply make better use of daylight. Makes sense to me. Since then, factors such as world wars and energy crises have influenced time change implementation.
But in today’s world, looking on the bright side (especially in Florida) means getting and keeping that extra hour for tourists to soak up the sun, fun, and hopefully spend a ton. Lawmakers in the Sunshine State are pushing to have daylight saving time year-round. As I posted this, the Florida House had recently voted 103-11 in favor of the Sunshine Protection Act. The state Senate soon after concurred 33-2.
This permanent proposed time adjustment, which would go into effect July 1, would keep Florida ahead of the curve — literally. If passed, we will be in what’s known as the Atlantic Time Zone (one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time).
The Pros (a few, anyway)
• The early bird gets the worm.
• Consistently commuting and completing late afternoon and early evening tasks while it’s still light.
• Myriad medical studies show bright light is good for your overall mood, health, and productivity.
• Eliminates the hassle of re-setting all your clocks that don’t automatically reset themselves.
Some Potential Cons
• What time is it there? Currently, the northwestern part of the state, including the Panhandle, follows Central Time, already putting it one hour behind the rest of the peninsula. So, would they then be two hours behind if this legislation passes? Actually, according to reports, the Senate version of the bill calls for moving the entire state into one time zone.
• Darker in the morning: problematic for those who have a harder time waking up; also not ideal for children making their way to school or growers heading out to the fields and groves.
• Having to correct clocks that reset themselves based on long-established daylight saving schedules.
• The regularly scheduled TV programming won’t be so regular. Check your local listings.
Watching the Clock
No matter the outcome of the Sunshine Protection Act, it was high time this idea get true consideration. According to an informal poll posed to Florida Grower magazine’s Twitter followers, a vast majority of respondents (89%) support year-round daylight saving.
I’m for it. Let’s stop “falling back.” Other states already are vetting the idea. Some areas in the nation (Arizona and Hawaii) haven’t recognized time change for quite a while. They’re surviving just fine.
Lingering legislative hurdles aside, odds are this bill will pass. Will it pay off? Time will tell.