STORY BY CHAMINDI WIJESINGHE
Countries in the Northern Hemisphere are turning their clocks back an hour to end six months of extra sunlight (May- October).
Daylight Saving Time (it’s officially singular, but often misspelled as Daylight Savings Time) was first implemented in Germany on April 30, 1916, where the hour hand on clocks sprung forward at 11:00pm. Although we attribute the origins of DST to Benjamin Franklin, George Hudson (who was mocked for proposing the idea in 1895 in Wellington), Germany or the farmers, surprisingly, a similar practice can be traced back to ancient civilizations.
However, why are we making a thing as simple as keeping track of time a debate?
The largest and most prominent argument demanding a cease in DST is the health risks brought about by the hour of sleep we lose in spring.
Multiple studies have found that the Monday following “spring ahead,” heart attacks and suicides surged, giving rise to the “Monday Cardiac Phenomenon.” Opponents claim that in a world where we are constantly bombarded by moments that contribute to a lack of sleep, DST is an extra monster.
Studies have further found out that “heart attacks decreased by 10 percent on the first Monday and Tuesday after clocks are switched back in the fall.” Sleep-deprived accidents also multiplied and work related injuries increased by 6 percent leading to an economic hit from the lack of productivity.
It is hard to believe that DST alone is causing all these repercussions. If we are aware of the fact that we lose an hour every single year, on the same day, at the same time, shouldn’t we get adjusted to it and be extra cautious that week?
The advertised origin of this practice was to save energy for the war during World War I and to encourage people to maximize the use of sunlight. There was an underlying assumption that when winter knocks at your door, you would rather stay inside glorifying DST for giving that extra hour during the rest of the year.
As reasons changed, more countries further away from the equator, experiencing the intensity of seasonal change adopted DST, preaching the concept of saving energy religiously. While it might have worked in the past and transcended generations, numerous studies question whether the major repercussions (and the simultaneous benefits) are worth the hassle.
Opponents argue that DST does all but reduce the electricity cost. Take air conditioning, for example, which makes unbearably hot summers moderately pleasant. Blasting on one air conditioner is equivalent to a dozen tungsten bulbs. One air conditioner turns to 50 in a building and the electricity bill keeps rising, cent by cent. the utopian, cool interior is never rejected. Watching television in the pleasant room is more appealing than the hot, humid, mosquito-infested outdoors.
Moreover, with the boom in technology, electricity is needed for other gadgets, like laptops and television. This perfect combination is an ingredient to the overall rising cost of energy bills.
The change in cost is only about $4 of saving or spending per household in a year. Would you suggest more sunlight to a resident in Arizona or Hawaii?
Arizona introduces us to the second headache that comes with DST: inconsistency. Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands don’t officially observe the time change each year. Yet, the Navajo Nation in Arizona observes the “cosmic courtesy” granted by Congress to its citizens.
Did you think that was it? Thereismoreconfusioncoming up. Inside the Navajo Nation, the Hopi reservation ignores DST. Inside the Hopi reservation is a part of Navajo Nation that observes DST, and inside the Navajo Nation is another Hopi reservation that ignores DST. OK— that’s all, folks! Driving across a 100-mile stretch could technically require seven clock changes.
While in the middle ages, you would simply shrug off this inconsistency, in the highly advanced and globalized village today, the inconvenience of different time zones-nationally and internationally—hits multinational corporations the hardest. Since countries enter or leave DST at different times, in the space of three weeks, three clock changes can happen on the global platform.
If we can keep up with the Kardashians, we can certainly keep up with the time change that happens twice a year. Fo all its negativity, we do love the extra hour that we gain at the end of the ordeal.