Discover more from Wanderings - Selected writing by Phillip Blancher
Wanderings – Time to end time changes once and for all
I loathe the semi-annual time change that we are subjected to. Loathe is too kind of a word, maybe despise is a better word. Or the two words together – loathe and despise – that works. I loathe and despise the semiannual time change we are subjected to.
We are forced to move our clocks forward by an hour in the spring, and return them to their proper time in the fall. As far back as Benjamin Franklin, there have been schemes proposed to align the 24 hour clock to the daylight hours. Franklin used the rationale that it would save on candle usage having working hours aligned. Franklin has also been credited with the saying “Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy.” In my opinion, Franklin should have spent more time worrying about beer than time.
Changing the time twice a year is an abomination to the human condition. Yes, I am being slightly over-dramatic here – it’s warranted though.
Daylight Saving Time was widely implemented in 1918 as part of the war effort. Apparently confusing the Kaiser with our inconsistent clocks was a war strategy. Farmers opposed this measure. To this day, Saskatchewan does not use DST, although it is geographically in the Mountain time zone but uses Central time. So that makes sense, right?
As if DST wasn’t already bad enough, in 2005, US President George W. Bush signed a congressional bill that extended DST by four weeks. Again energy efficiency and the like was the driving force behind it, but I think this was just a way for him to mess with his detractors. Canadians naturally followed suit.
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There are many detractors to the change to and from DST. Statistics from law enforcement show there are more vehicular accidents during the transition period to and from DST.
A University of Boulder Colorado study found there has been a six per cent increase in fatal car crashes in the week after a time change over the past 20 years.
Multiple medical experts – the science people – say it’s bad for a whole host of reasons. Time change throws off our circadian rhythm (internal body clock) which messes with the quality of sleep we get. The transition period messes with our attention span, blood pressure, and our metabolism.
A study in Finland found an eight per cent increase in the risk of a stroke after a time change. And another study found that people’s appetites change with the time change as their body clock thinks they are eating later. This leads to more weight gain. Who can afford to eat more with the prices of groceries the way they are?
The long term health effects of staying in DST include links to depression, weight issues, and headaches. If time change was smoking, they’d slap a warning label on it and tax it higher.
Note, I distilled this from multiple legitimate medical sources, not from multiple meme-filled Facebook groups that espouse medical “facts.”
All the medical facts show that we should stay on standard time. This is why the great bastion of scientific knowledge and reason – politicians – put legislation in place to start moving us permanently to DST. Ontario passed a law that will make DST permanent when other provinces and US states do. That makes sense.
So why do I dislike Daylight Saving Time this much? I am one of those who are affected by the changes long after they happen. When we switch to DST, I am more late than normal. It takes a long time for me to adjust to everything related to the time change.
I find I am barely acclimatized to the change, when we change back. Standard Time, for whatever reason, seems to work better for me. I am not alone in this.
The irony is not lost on me that this is yet another example where there is a great deal of scientific evidence that supports one side of an issue – in this case time change – and then we have politics go and mess things up.
Most politicians are not scientists, yet they play ones in their respective legislatures. That also adds to my contempt for the time change. Know your role please!
So, if you are expecting me to arrive on time in the next few months, please manage your expectations accordingly. You may blame politicians for it – I know I do.
This column was originally published in the November 8, 2023 print edition of the Morrisburg Leader.