It’s time to pull the plug on daylight saving time
The end of daylight saving time on the weekend has again raised the question, “Do we really need this, and, if we do, why isn’t there global uniformity to daylight saving time?”
Daylight saving time has never been observed in most of Africa, and much of Asia and South America did away with it years ago after giving it a try. The countries on these continents see no need for it. The European Union is in discussions about breaking away from daylight saving time.
Even here in Canada, there is no uniformity to daylight savings time. Most of Saskatchewan, for example, prefers to keep time constant the year round.
So, is it really necessary to “fall back” and “spring forward” every year? Daylight saving time was originally conceived as a means of conserving energy for roughly half the year, but many Canadian hydro officials say there is little evidence to suggest it’s as effective as it was initially cracked up to be.
According to a sleep expert from Manitoba, it can take the better part of a week for the average person to readjust to a proper sleep schedule. During that period of adjustment, the risk of becoming injured – especially in traffic accidents – is greater, the expert says. Some Canadian provinces have verified that assertion, noting the number of traffic accidents typically increase in the days and weeks immediately following daylight savings time.
Speaking personally, I’m not a fan of daylight saving time. The extra hour we’re awarded in the fall to sleep in is given right back again in the spring. When dusk arrives at 4:30 p.m. by the first of December, it gets pretty depressing. You’re driving home from work in the dark and it feels more like 9 p.m. Students bused back and forth to school wait to board the bus barely after dawn and finally arrive home often at dusk. There’s something not quite right about this.
There is also the inconvenience of having to change the clocks twice a year.
I can’t imagine the world would come to an end if daylight saving time was abolished. But it’s one of these things that everyone ideally needs to agree upon. If Canada wished to put an end to this, it’s in our best interests that the United States does likewise. Cross-border business and air travel between both countries might get a little chaotic, but we could still function on our own without an agreement with the U.S.
We adopted the metric system decades ago while the U.S. opted to stay the course with the British system. Americans crossing the border by car continue to have to adjust to speeds measured in kilometres per hour and adapt to temperatures stated in Celsius, but it works. If Canada took the lead and did away with daylight saving time, the United States would eventually adapt and perhaps even follow suit.
Obviously this works in most of Saskatchewan. The province has made no noise about wanting to join most of the rest of Canada in adopting daylight saving time. Perhaps it’s time for the federal government to study the Saskatchewan model and consider doing away with daylight saving time from coast to coast.
It’s had a good run, but it’s really not necessary to keep it going. Heck, if this country can legalize marijuana, it can do away with daylight saving time.