A Hope for Permanent Daylight Saving Time

Wednesday, March 16th, 2022

One of my least favorite things about living in Boston are the winter sunsets, which occur as early as 4:13 PM. That’s simply too damned early for the sun to be setting. Meanwhile, at the far west end of the Eastern time zone, Detroit gets summer sunsets as late as 9:15 PM. That is excessively late! Now, the truth of the matter is that Boston should be in the Atlantic time zone, and Detroit should be in the Central time zone. However, the sway of the east coast is strong, and it’s unlikely anyone’s going to make a switch.

In the past, I’ve proposed various schemes to improve things, from reversing the rotation of the Earth (so Boston would be at the end of the time zone, not the beginning) to cutting the middle of the US out and floating it to the Pacific, then jamming the coasts together (beneficial for oh so many reasons). Alas, science has yet to come through for me on these fronts. So, more realistically, fiddling with timekeeping will have to do for now.

That’s why I’m glad to finally see progress on a bill I’ve been tracking for several years now: the Sunshine Protection Act. This bill would put the United States on permanent Daylight Saving Time, providing more daylight in the evening. Now, obviously we’re not magically creating more daylight, so that would also mean later sunrises. To me, and many others, that seems like a good trade-off. On Sunday, after setting my analog clocks ahead, I took time to contact my representatives to urge them to move this bill forward. Though this timely action felt like a good thing to do, I certainly didn’t expect much to come of it.

You can thus imagine my surprise when yesterday, the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act by unanimous consent. Progress! The bill still needs to pass the House, and be signed into law by President Biden, but it’s delightful to see it moving forward.

Of course, there will be winners and losers if this change occurs. In the depths of winter, the aforementioned Detroit wouldn’t see the sun rise until 9 AM, which would be rough. Still, on balance, it certainly seems like it would be a net win. I’m hopeful that in the future, I’ll be spared the scourge of pitch darkness before it’s even quitting time.


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