Fandango’s Provocative Question asks us to weigh in on the U. S. Senate decision to do away with the semi-annual time change with the following questions:
Assuming you agree that we should have the same time year-round rather than moving up an hour each spring and back an hour each fall, do you favor going to permanent Daylight Saving Time or permanent Standard Time? Why do you feel that way?
Find my response below…
I must admit I have a love-hate relationship with the semi-annual time change. Love the extra hour of sleep in the fall and hate losing it in the spring. Personally, I prefer the time change but if I had to choose I’d give up the extra evening light and remain on Standard Time year-round.
The health benefits of having the clock align with our circadian rhythms far out way the benefits of extra light in the afternoon. We are creatures of the light, as in not nocturnal, and we sleep better in the dark. Our sleep quality and patterns are a mess as a society and it is one of the biggest factors in our overall health in North America. The time change works because we adjust easier to the later light in the summer because this is our active time of year as a species. All living things have seasonal rhythms similar to our daily cycles and although we do not hibernate as the bear, the winter months are our less active time relatively speaking and adjusting to waking when it’s still dark is harder on the human body.
As for all the other pseudo predictions, I don’t believe they hold water. Do we really believe that an extra hour of daylight in the evening makes criminals sleepy?
Look back to a time when George Dubya was in the White House. The administration of the day pushed the dates for the beginning and end of daylight savings time earlier in the spring and later in the fall. The research suggested that the change would save billions of barrels of oil annually. Those savings never materialized as consumption remained virtually unchanged. In the absence of other factors, crime rates will remain static just as was the case with oil usage. The clock will have little to no real effect.
I’ve also read articles and comments lamenting how hard it is to change clocks and remember the time change. This is another red herring. The truth, most of our clocks run on software programmed to update automatically when the time changes. Yes, the stove or microwave may or may not be wifi smart but Alexa, Google, Siri and the clocks we use on our phones or computers all update without any of us having to lift a finger.
Maybe we should be looking at getting rid of time zones and return to using the local astronomical conditions to keep time. We could brush aside the work of Sir Sandford Fleming and put sundials back in our yards and in our town squares to keep proper time in the exact location we are standing. That notion sounds ridiculous in today’s world but is it any more so than our politicians wasting time debating and voting on this stuff while so many other important issues, such as health care, climate change, Russian aggression and threats of nuclear annihilation persist. It was nice to see politicians agree across party lines for once but I don’t think real threats like China’s Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin will be shaking in their boots. It makes the West look like a joke celebrating consensus on such non-issues.
Like I stated earlier, I like the extra light in the summer when I’m outside and active and the earlier sunrise when I’m heading off to work or school in the dead of winter. I wouldn’t change from the current format but as a second option, I’d forgo the evening light and set my clock to Standard Time.
Unfortunately, the provincial government in Ontario will more than likely follow suit and abolish the time change model, implementing whatever is decided south of the border. They will use the excuse that it aligns better economically with our American brothers and sisters.
I guess only time will tell…
Written in response to
Fandango’s Provocative Question #161.