Opinion

Death to Thee, Oh DST!

This morning, my alarm went off, and I opened my tired, puffy eyes and was welcomed to nothing but darkness.

*sigh*

I’ve had enough of Daylight Savings Time (DST). It’s a useless relic of the past – a pointless exercise that serves little purpose in today’s society. It’s nothing more than a trick. We are being deceived, my friends! Even worse, we are allowing it to happen year after year. And for what? Nobody can seem to really answer that anymore

So how did this silly, archaic practice even begin?

If you’ve watched the movie National Treasure, you would know that Benjamin Franklin is the one that invented the concept of Daylight Savings Time in 1784…right?

WRONG!

Benjamin Franklin did no such thing! At best, Franklin may have contributed to the idea when he published an article that suggested that people needed to start waking up earlier to take advantage of the daylight and, as a result, they would save on the number of candles being used in the process. At no point did he develop, create, or invent the process of Daylight Savings Time. It should also be noted that his article was largely satirical, so there’s that.

Now…I know what you’re thinking. “But CJ! Wasn’t Daylight Savings Time created to help the farmers?”

ALSO WRONG!!

Sadly, farmers seem to take the brunt for this silly creation when the whole idea was geared more towards Franklin’s thought process on saving energy. In fact, Germany was the first to introduce Daylight Savings Time on a national scale in 1916. The reason? They implemented DST to reduce fuel being consumed by artificial light sources to bolster their war effort. While I can see the connection, it would appear that it has very little to do with farming at all. In reality, many farmers disagreed with the concept of DST and still do to this day. It should be telling that Saskatchewan, a Canadian province that knows a bit about farming, doesn’t use it at all. And this is even more relevant with dairy farmers in particular as they noted that the milking schedules in cows don’t change along with the time. Summary? The cows don’t give a shit.

This is where you say, “Ok! So it was Germany that invented it! Good ol’ German ingenuity and know-how! It’s hard to argue with that!” (you probably didn’t say that)

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

The person responsible for Daylight Savings Time in a form we would recognize today was a New Zealand scientist named George Vernon Hudson. Hudson was a shift-worker and passionate insect collector who placed a high value on after-work daylight hours. So in 1895, he came up with an idea to move the clocks two hours forward in March and two hours back in October. He presented this idea in a paper to several groups in 1898 and was largely dismissed. His idea was then picked up in 1905 by a British builder by the name of William Willett, an avid golfer. Willett proposed a similar shift by increments of twenty minutes in April and September across four weekends each. This idea, too, was dismissed.

“Alright!! So it may not have been Germany that invented it, but they were the first to use it!”

SO WRONG!!!

The first actual use of Daylight Savings Time was implemented by Port Arthur, Ontario, in 1908. This was then followed closely by Orillia, Ontario, in 1911.

Canada….*sigh*

To be honest, there’s a lot more to it than just what I’ve talked about here. As we speak, there are approximately 70 countries in the world that currently use DST in some form, and most of them are pretty far from the equator. The length of days becomes far more noticeable the closer your get to the either of the poles.There have also been examples of DST being used in some form across the past few thousand years. Interestingly enough, it never seems to stick around, and it’s constantly changing to suit specific needs. And that’s just it – a lack of consistency and being used towards particular needs.

So what are our needs today?

I would argue that DST is being used more out of tradition than practical application in today’s world. While conservation of fuel and energy is a noble goal, we’ve come a long way from lanterns, torches, and candles. And I’m certainly not suggesting we shouldn’t try to conserve energy when possible either (I’m sure nobody wants to relive the 70’s). But we currently live in an age that’s on the move 24 hours a day. We operate on digital networks, 365 days a year business, and rotating shifts. Tell me, where does the world I just described benefit from changing the clocks on the whims of golfers and butterfly enthusiasts?

And before you accuse me of being a lazy, wasteful vampire with some aversion to daylight, I should tell that I love golf. Maybe not the insects, but definitely golf. I also rarely turn the lights on (both at home or in my office at work). I can’t even tell you how irritated I get by this odd obsession with turning the damned lights on in the middle of the day when the natural light coming through the window is perfectly fine. More so when they leave it on after leaving the room. And this goes double for any building, room, or facility that uses fluorescent lighting. Those lights are the worst!

But still, here we are. And so, back to this morning…

This morning started off normal, like any other. The alarm went off at 6:45 AM, I got up out of bed and started to get ready for work. Except that it wasn’t normal at all. When the alarm sounded, I was immediately and woefully aware that I was missing an hour out of my usual slumber. My tired, puffy eyes were welcomed by nothing but darkness where wonderfully soothing light had been the day before. Dazed, confused, and largely agitated at the current state of affairs, I went on about my day, wishing nothing but misery upon the wretched soul that decided this was a good idea.

Apparently, my revenge took the form of a strongly worded letter instead.

After living through the darkest months of the year, we are briefly teased with the hope that light will return one day, only to have it snatched from us again. What madness is this?! Sure we get an extra hour in October, but is it really worth it? Changing the time doesn’t change the position of the sun. You aren’t a God! Maybe Benjamin Franklin was on to something – if you want that sunlight, get up earlier (or stay up later as the case may be). But for the love of all that is holy, stop torturing the rest of us with this nonsense!

Missed appointments. Late for work. Disrupted sleep patterns. Fogetting to feed the dogs on time. Why?! It doesn’t have to be like this!

Our needs do not include us changing the clocks so the people in Northern Alberta can work on their tan in the middle of March.

My friends, Daylight Savings Time has got to go! Don’t be fooled by the explanations, the reasonings, the tales, or the traditions. They are a distraction. A ruse!

Just let the time be.

Image Credit: MartinAmm

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