Clocks Are Changing In Europe This Weekend, But Why Not In The U.S.?

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The majority of Europeans will be waking up on Sunday, adjusting their watches and spending an extra hour in bed. Not so Americans.

The clocks are being rolled back an hour in Britain, France, Germany and others on Sunday morning, reverting to Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT, in Britain, the official end of summer time. It is the second half of the saying: “Spring forward; Fall back.”

The U.S. states will change clocks a week later at 2 a.m. on November 5 at the end of what is known as Daylight Saving Time (DST). That’s along with Canada, and nine other territories including Bermuda and Cuba.

Americans will have lighter mornings and darker evenings because of the earlier sunrises and sunsets in what is a tradition initiated by Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, to conserve energy, according to Live Science.

In Europe, it was started by the Germans, who in 1916 used it as a means to also conserve energy and boost productivity during the First World War. The U.S. followed in 1918.

When the war concluded, most of the countries involved let DST go, apart from the British who ratified it as British Summer Time, or BST, in 1925. The U.S. would eventually bring it back in 1942 as the allies battled Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. It has remained since, with states choosing to follow the system or not.

A customer tries watches at a watchmaker shop on October 26, 2017 in Nantes, western France, two days before the end of Daylight Saving Time. Loic Venance/AFP/Getty

DST always ends on the first weekend of November. But not every state adheres to this in the States. Both Arizona and Hawaii have decided against DST. There are also efforts in New England and Massachusetts to stop using the system and move to the Atlantic Time Zone, an hour ahead of the Eastern Time Zone that the state currently follows.

There is opposition to the system in the U.S. because of the personal effort required to adjust your clocks, watches and actual body clocks. Research has suggested that the changes to the body clock can result in an increase in car accidents.

While the U.S. is changing its clocks a week later than Europe, not all countries in Europe use the system, and most of the world does not either.

Less than 40 percent of the world uses the Daylight Saving Time system. Most African and Asian countries, such as India and China, have decided to opt out of the system altogether.

Namibia is the only country in Africa to use DST, unless you stay at the Anjajavy resort in Madagascar, which created its own time zone so the sun could rise later and set earlier, according to NPR.

But ignore all of that, let the Europeans get their extra rest tomorrow. Yours will be with you next weekend.

Update: This article originally referred to Benjamin Franklin as ‘president.’ Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, was never elected president. 



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