Freeport, ME, March 11, 2021
Spring Forward: Spending More Time Outside
How to take advantage of the extra daylight
Finally—the day we’ve all been waiting for, the day we “spring forward” into more daylight. On March 14, 2021 most of us (except Arizona and Hawaii—two places that get abundant year-round sunshine), will set our clocks forward one hour. And while we lose an hour of sleep, we gain an extra hour of much-needed sunshine after a long, dark winter.
Benjamin Franklin is often credited as the first to propose Daylight Saving Time in 1784, but after a little fact checking we found that it was Englishman William Willett, over 100 years later, who led the first campaign to implement Daylight Saving Time. Willett would spend the rest of his life advocating for a change in time.
His inspiration? Time in nature. One summer day in 1905, Willett was out on an early-morning horseback ride, enjoying the rural outskirts of London. He was struck by its beauty and had a moment of enlightenment: the UK should move its clocks forward during spring to fall so more people could enjoy the benefits of sunlight.
The idea caught on around the world. And after some fits and starts and patchwork practices across the country, the US officially adopted Daylight Saving Time as part of the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Many people believe that farmers were the main advocates for the change, but it was really an economic imperative—more daylight hours, more likely to pop into a shop after work or get in a round of golf before hitting the office.
But the more we’re learning about nature and its many benefits, the stronger the case becomes for using that extra hour to experience the restorative power of being outside. A 30-minute walk before you take your first Zoom meeting; a commitment to look out the window as the sun rises before you check your phone; a stroll around the neighborhood after a long day seated at the laptop—each of these activities lead to a myriad of benefits, all associated with the feeling of awe, or being in the presence of something bigger than yourself. It’s time to spring forward into the great outdoors.