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Monday, August 2, 2021

Time to ‘fall back’ and reset the clock tonight

Recent headlines

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The clock inside Merida’s city hall bell tower shines over the Plaza Grande at dawn. Photo: Lee Steele / YEL

Most people in Mexico will want to set their clocks back one hour heading to bed Saturday. Daylight Saving Time here officially ends 2 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.

Quintana Roo and Sonora and 33 U.S. border towns aren’t part of the time change, but every other state in Mexico will “fall back” in the overnight hours between Saturday and Sunday. Quintana Roo adheres to Eastern Standard Time in the US.

Canada and the U.S. will catch up with Mexico at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, when those countries will put Daylight Saving Time to bed for 2020.

The good news is that the weekend will be an hour longer. We’ll pay the price Sunday, April 4, 2021, when we “spring ahead” and return to DST.

Most of Europe and North America still observe DST, but it is generally not observed in countries close to the equator, where sunrise and sunset times don’t vary enough to justify asking everyone to reset their clocks.

The idea of DST is believed to have first been proposed in 1895 by a British-born New Zealand entomologist and astronomer named George Hudson.

Hudson worked on day shifts and intended to use his leisure time collecting insects under daylight, which would last longer in the evening.

Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift. This proposal gained considerable interest in Christchurch, leading him to follow the idea up in an 1898 paper.

British builder and outdoorsman William Willet has also been credited with the invention of DST, who campaigned tirelessly for the idea to be introduced.

Willet proposed that the clocks should be advanced by 80 minutes in four incremental steps during April and reversed the same way during September.

He succeeded. British Summer Time was established by the Summer Time Act 1916, beginning May 21 and ending on Oct. 1.

The German Empire and Austria-Hungary organized the first nationwide implementation of Daylight Saving Time on April 30, 1916, as a way to conserve coal during wartime.

Most places abandoned it just after the war ended, apart from Canada, the UK, France, Ireland and the US.

It grew in popularity again during World War II and was widely adopted in the US and Europe in the 1970s during the energy crisis.

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