Daylight Saving Time was invented a hundred years ago. It worked a hundred years ago. But is this still the case?
In our modern, computerized world, designing systems around arbitrary clock jumps is a huge drain on innovation and productivity. In 2007, the US Government changed the dates that DST started and ended on, breaking uncountable pieces of software and wasting thousands of person-hours tracking down resulting bugs.
It’s clear that computers hate Daylight Savings Time. But what about for humans? Is there a tangible benefit for us?
The common arguments for Daylight Saving Time don’t stand up to rigorous scientific studies. It turns out that DST does not save energy in today’s world. Electricity consumption is now tied more to temperature than sunlight, and the original argument that evening sunlight will lower incandescent bulb use is now irrelevant.
China, India, and Russia, three of the largest countries in the world by economic size or population, have all tried and abandoned Daylight Saving Time, because it simply does not make sense. The proposal has caused so much harm to farmers that the province of Saskatchewan no longer observes Daylight Saving Time.
Contrary to its name, Daylight Saving Time does not have anything to do with saving daylight. A clock that abruptly changes by one hour twice a year does not actually alter sunrise and sunset. The natural length of the day (obviously) remains unchanged no matter what we do to our clocks.
The idea behind Daylight Saving Time is to modify human schedules to better use the daylight. It attempts this by throwing the clock off from its natural course. But this is the wrong use of a clock. The purpose of a clock is to record time. DST is breaking a useful tool that works to solve a “problem” that many don’t agree is even a problem.
Instead of fiddling with our clocks, why don’t we change our schedules? Why don’t we change working hours or school hours, so we directly fix the problem of human activities not being in sync with sunlight?
In a few hours, we change to Standard Time again. Let’s stay here this time around.