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Earth Notes

Earth Notes - Daylight Savings TIme

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http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/knau/local-knau-860687.mp3

Flagstaff, AZ – The 1960s were a time of conflict. Among the decade's lesser-known controversies was one that took place in Arizona, where Daylight Saving Time was designated for the first and only time in 1967.

The idea wasn't new. Ben Franklin was an early proponent of adjusting clocks for long summer days so that evenings have more daylight and mornings less. Various U.S. states and cities tried out Daylight Saving Time beginning in World War One.

Arizonans didn't like the idea because of the summer heat. But in 1967 the state tried it out in response to a new federal law that standardized Daylight Saving Time across the country.

The long, hot evenings were bad news for drive-in movie theatres, which could not start showing films until 10 p.m. in mid-summer. One of Arizona's theatre owners was the majority leader of the state senate. Not surprisingly, the state legislature canned Daylight Saving Time in 1968, and Arizona hasn't observed it since.

The Navajo Nation, though, does adjust its clocks in spring and fall, because large tracts of its land are located within two other states that do observe the time shift.

Arizonans save energy in air-conditioning because Daylight Saving Time isn't observed. But there may be more traffic hazards, since accidents increase as the evening light fades; a later twilight would mean fewer drivers on the road, and fewer accidents. That's a price the residents of Arizona's low deserts seem willing to pay for cooler summer evenings.

By Diane Hope