The promise of summer’s end is everywhere you look: school has started, stores are stocking autumn products, and the days are noticeably becoming shorter. Soon enough, the days will be so short they will, for some people, be dark before dinner time. That prospect is upsetting, yes, and Massachusetts is tired of dealing with it. Per a newly signed bill, the state will conduct research into the idea of changing the state’s time zone.
Short daylight hours are dreaded by just about everyone, and they have a real effect on daily lives: some people develop depression during the darker days, physical activities suffers, and many people report being less productive during the height of winter darkness. For states with such dim winters, there’s also another issue to contend with: young populations fleeing to states where winter sunsets aren't so early in the day.
During the darkest point of winter, the sun starts to set shortly after 4PM in Boston, giving kids very little daylight to enjoy after school. The state may solve the issue, though, by leaving the eastern time zone in favor of the Atlantic one, and ditching the tiresome model of changing the clocks back and forth. Under such a model, the mornings would stay dark a little longer, but the evenings would stay bright longer, too.
The state has expressed concerns about college students fleeing for brighter states, but it hasn’t determined fully whether this mass flight is due to the short daylight hours during winter or something else. Still, the argument is being made that longer days, as well as the elimination of daylight saving time, will be better for the population’s overall health.
At the end of the day, though, Massachusetts is exploring this possible time zone change as part of a larger economic development plan, and so any changes will likely have to be found fruitful for the economy. The research will be ongoing for months, with the report of findings not being due until July 2017.