Daylight Saving Time: Should We Keep It or Toss It?
For many Canadians, autumn means the mesmerizing colour changes of leaves but also Daylight Saving Time or DST. DST is the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour from Standard Time in spring and turning them back again in fall. Thus, the famous adage, “Spring forward, fall back.” The goal of this practice is to maximize the natural daylight we receive during the days when they are shorter and the
nights are longer, which typically happens during the winter months.
We have Englishman William Willett to thank for the idea of DST. Willet was inspired to lead the first ever campaign for DST while on an early morning horseback ride in London in 1905. Thinking that UK people should have more time for sunlight during the months of April until October, he published a brochure titled “The Waste of Daylight” and made an effort for the rest of the UK to embrace the adoption of “summer time.” Unfortunately, the British Parliament never got on board, and even upon Willet’s death in 1915, the idea never came to fruition.
While it was an Englishman who had thought of DST first, it was actually in Germany when it was first implemented. In an effort to conserve electricity, Germany embraced DST in 1916, just a year shy of Willet’s death.
Today, fewer than 40 per cent of countries maintain the practice of DST, though at least 140 countries have tried to implement it at some point. However, it’s safe to say that people are torn whether to continue practicing DST or scrap it. Below is a look at the pros and cons of DST.
You get more natural sunlight.
With DST in place, you have a bigger chance of basking in the sunlight since by the time of the sunrise, it usually means you start getting ready for your school or work. Thus, when you’re on your way, whether you’re driving, walking, or taking transit, you get a much-needed dose of Vitamin D.
It keeps us in line with U.S. and Europe.
Because these countries practice DST, we are in good company. If Canada opts out, then most likely it will have a negative effect on our social and economic ties with them.
Not all provinces and territories practice DST in Canada. For instance, the Yukon territories have completely abandoned the idea. Thus, time differences coupled with time changes can lead to confusion.
It causes many accidents.
When the clock has to spring forward, a lot of people end up being sleep-deprived, and thus, overall affecting their attention span. As a result, there is an uptick of car accidents.
It affects religious observations.
In some religions, prayers are dependent on the times of sunrise and sunset and changing the clocks twice a year can definitely bring an effect to how they do their prayers.
The debate whether to keep or toss DST may continue for a while, and until that time when it is abandoned or made permanent, we all have to remember when to spring forward and fall back.