A: Is it supposed to be 11.30pm in Canada now?
B: It’s actually 12.30am. The clock moved ahead 1 hour last month.
A: Har? How can that happen?
B: Daylight Savings Day!
A: What’s that?
I learnt about Daylight Saving Time (DST) through a conversation that I had with my Canadian friend. Some of us might have heard about this term before but a larger part of the population in Malaysia don’t quite understand DST as we don’t experience this scenario in tropical countries.
So, what is DST? DST is moving the clock an hour ahead during spring so that people could take advantage of the extra hour of daylight rather than wasting resources to energize indoor lighting. So, DST is said to help in conserving energy as it encourages people to stay out later in the summer and use less of electricity.
The original idea was from Benjamin Franklin.
But George Hudson was the first to propose modern DST. Of course, this DST helps Hudson to have more time to collect insects and also led him to value daylight.
The switch of time effectively gives people more time to enjoy the sunshine and nice summer weather after work. Normally DST begin in the summer months and ends in winter. This year’s DST begins on 11th March and will end on 4th November.
Further countries from equator are likely to use DST as the cold and dark winters make summer time much more valuable to the citizens.
How effective it is?
The Germans believe DST helps in conserving energy but as technology gets more and more advanced, does DST really help? Though we understand that DST encourage people to stay out and use less of artificial light, but since it’s summer, won’t it get too hot to stay out for a long time? So to cool off, people will end up switching on air conditioner and it actually runs the same amount of electricity as running dozens of tungsten light bulb, so it is not entirely conserving energy, no?
Places like Arizona and Hawaii do not practice DST as they don’t want to have more sun and higher electricity bills.
Over the years, there are on-going debates which suggest that DST has more cons than pros.
With the advancement of technology, there are tonnes of home appliances which conserve electricity as effective as DST. Switching clock also create potential health problems like sleep deprivation. Most of the people are less productive during the transitional DST period. Moving the clock an hour forward means taking away a solid hour of sleep, which leads to sleep deprivation that is the indirect cause of heart attack and in some severe cases, suicide.
People from different time zones also have problem scheduling their meetings across different time zones. Inconsistent time zones doesn’t do people much favor as well as it gives people too much confusion to adapt to this change.