Let’s stick with Pacific Standard Time
Since we just changed our clocks to Daylight Saving Time (DST), I am encouraged to write this.
I am all for not changing the clocks twice a year. The BC NDP asked us a couple years ago if we wanted to stop the twice yearly change and most said yes. However, the question was skewed. We were only given the option of DST year round or keep changing twice a year. That is not correct. We should have been asked which time we preferred, Standard Time or DST. I personally prefer Pacific Standard Time. DST is not necessary and is harmful.
Daylight Saving Time is an outdated measure. It causes a lack of productivity after the time changes because people are tired. Heart attacks, car accidents and other types of accidents increase after the time changes. It was introduced over 100 years ago as a way to save coal, and even though there is no evidence that it actually leads to energy conservation, it has been hard to abolish because it is embedded in our and the U.S.’s economy. The federal government should work with provinces to eliminate DST across Canada to promote public safety and health.
A few facts about Daylight Saving Time:
• In Canada, at first, DST use varied from town to town. Saskatchewan and some regions in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Nunavut also don’t observe daylight time.
• Safety: workplace injuries are six per cent more frequent after DST, especially in the trades, and traffic collisions are about 20 per cent more frequent (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety).
• Health: risk of heart attack and stroke increases after the spring time change.
Sleep experts have stated that DST is harmful to our health, especially children, as it disrupts our natural sleep patterns. It raises the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disturbances and depression.
We, along with all of nature, follow the circadian rhythms of nature, whether we are aware of them or not. Having the time set as natural as possible is having the sun be at its highest point on any day at noon, not 1 p.m. This gives a natural balance to our biological functions. Pushing it one hour ahead throws an imbalance into our lives. You may think you adjust to the extra hour imposed on us, but I do not think that really happens. We are only going to get so much sunlight on any given day. Changing the time of day does not change that.
If we were to have DST in the winter it would be much worse. We would have to wake up and be functional an hour before we naturally would. Sleep is lost and disrupted, and we do not necessarily go to bed one hour earlier to make up for this loss.
In all the years I had to be at work at 8 a.m. I noticed that it was always harder to get up and be at work for 8 a.m. during DST, even though it may have been summer with more daylight. And when the time changed back to Standard Time for winter I found that I had no problem getting up and being to work at 8 a.m., even though it may be darker. My circadian rhythms were not interrupted. In our world of so many unnatural things to imbalance our place in nature, having only Standard Time year round would be much more natural and gentle on our biological selves. I for one see no need to have it light until after 10 p.m. in the summer. I like the evening with some dark time to watch videos, read and just settle down before I go to bed and sleep.
Europe recently voted to end DST and have just Standard Time. Hawaii is on Standard Time year round as are many other places. Business does not require that we are all on DST in order to function. Following the U.S.A. in any changes they may make on whether to keep DST or not should not dictate to B.C. that we have to do what they do.
Getting rid of the twice yearly switch will be a very good thing, but only if Standard Time is the norm. Let us have the most natural time, not the false imposed time of DST. Having DST year round would be devastating. Please let us not be fooled into thinking it is the answer. Please let us have Pacific Standard Time all year.
The writer is a Salt Spring resident.