Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Arguments Around Daylight Savings Time

It might seem like a strange thing to argue about, but there are those who think daylight savings time has to go.  These malcontents shrug off conventional wisdom and contend that the scheme is confusing and unnecessary, and their tirades make for a fun read.

Lets take a look at what the conventional wisdom looks like.

The California Department of Energy seems to have a pro savings slant.  Their website breaks down the positives into a few primary sections.  According to the Department, it helps save electricity by minimizing the use of electric lights, air conditioning, and heating.  It also gives citizens more outdoor time, helps prevent traffic injuries, and lowers crime rates.

Those are all pretty persuasive arguments.

So persuasive, that they seem to have migrated into the international sphere.  In Japan and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, both places currently considering adopting the measure, these same points come up.  The pro-health arguments have gained so much traction, that it's turned the tide of public approval in two foreign lands.  From the Montreal Gazette:  

"Public approval for DST is growing, from 40 per cent in the 1990s to around 60 per cent today [in Japan]. Heizo Takenaka, a former cabinet minister, says it nearly passed in 2005, but fell victim to bureaucratic infighting.

Sound familiar? Our neighbors in Saskatchewan have been having a similar debate for decades. Saskatchewan is one of the few northern jurisdictions in the world that does not observe daylight saving time. In 2007, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall suggested it was time his province vote on the question, but that has yet to happen."

UMass student Joyce Vander Molen can empathize with the health argument.

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