Column: Time to spring into a new era

Switching to Daylight Saving Time is a real drag

As I write this, I do so in something of a sleep-deprived stupor.

The reason for today’s fog and an unusual — but not unprecedented — fourth cup of coffee is, of course, that we sprang forward last weekend.

In my case, I will acknowledge that it was less of a ‘spring’ and more of a ‘drag and drop’ situation.

So, if you can find it in your heart to overlook any obvious spelling or grammatical errors (and the less obvious ones, too, obviously) my fatigue-addled brain and I would appreciate it.

That’s assuming, of course, that you are alert enough to catch them.

On Saturday night, we all dutifully set our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time, on the understanding that a lost hour of sleep will result in a found hour of evening sunshine.

Which, don’t get me wrong, is lovely.

The question I have is this: why do we force ourselves to give up that afternoon/evening hour each November, only to turn around and reclaim it four months later?

We can all agree that winter is a dark and — for many— pretty depressing time of year. But those of us who rise to an alarm in order to get to a paying job are going to do so regardless of the amount of sunlight streaming in through the bedroom window.

We also appreciate coming home with a bit of daylight left to steer by, for as late in the year as that lasts.

Something else that happens like clockwork each November and March — at least one page of your local newspaper is dedicated to the dissection of Daylight Savings Time and the question of why we even bother.

You might have noticed in years past, that none of these writers ever seems to be jumping up and down (like they’d have the energy) in support of the time change.

No one who keeps to a regular weekly schedule seems to care for it, at least.

The biannual disruption to our systems is said to be dangerous to our health, leading to an increased number of both heart attacks and car crashes. One can assume that these incidents are not always unrelated.

So, here I sit on a Monday morning, trying to string together a few cohesive thoughts about why it is that we still insist on doing this twice a year.

Why do we saddle ourselves with the unpleasant sense of jet lag without any of the enjoyment of actually traveling to another time zone?

Some suggest that Daylight Savings Time was implemented during the First World War as a way to decrease energy consumption.

Historians will note that this was well before the vast majority of us began spending our days and evenings inside heated and air-conditioned buildings, staring for hours on end at electrically-powered computer and television screens.

Some websites (speaking of staring at screens) contend that DST started with farmers.

But if you have to get up with the sun to milk cows or feed chickens, does it really matter precisely where the clock hands are pointing?

Will the animals be adjusting their schedules accordingly? Probably not.

There are areas along the B.C.-Alberta boundary and in Ontario, not to mention the entire province of Saskatchewan, where local residents cannot be bothered with all the nonsense of changing clocks back and forth, opting instead to play the ‘what time is it there now?’ game for people living in whichever direction they need to call.

Yes, they’re in the minority, but if they’re willing to do all that mental arithmetic to avoid springing and falling each spring and fall, it must be an idea worth considering, mustn’t it?

There’s no reason to panic — we don’t have to make a decision today.

After all, DST won’t end for another eight months.

That gives us plenty of time to make an informed decision to scrap the whole annoying process and simply leave the clocks where they are.

Until then, why don’t we all just sleep on it?

Just Posted

Most Read