Love it or hate it, Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins this weekend, on Sunday, March 11.
The best plan, so you don’t forget and then arrive late for your brunch date on Sunday, or worse yet, late for work on Monday, is to turn your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.
The first person to conceive of Daylight Saving Time was Benjamin Franklin during his time as American Delegate in Paris. In a satirical essay in the Journal of Paris on April 26, 1784 titled, “An Economical Project,” he suggested the city of Paris would save “an immense sum” on candles and lamp oil by adopting the practice.
Franklin liked to play chess until the wee hours of the morning and then sleep until noon but with the early morning light streaming through his window during the summer, he wrote he found it difficult to stay in bed once the sun came up.
His solution to the problem was Daylight Saving Time, but the idea didn’t catch on right away. In fact, it wasn’t until 1916 that Germany became the first country to use DST in order to conserve electricity during the First World War.
Watch from September 2017: Some MLAs are suggesting we need a national time-change discussion before Alberta decides what to do with its clocks. Fletcher Kent reports.
Proponents of DST say more light at the end of the day motivates people to participate in outdoor sports and exercise. Others say the extra hour of daylight encourages people to shop and go to restaurants, helping to boost the local economy.
Others deride the practice, saying the changeover disrupts our circadian rhythm, also known as our body clock. Most people would say this results in nothing more than tiredness that can take a week or more to get over but for some, there can be more serious health side effects.
As for the argument that it saves energy, which is why it was originally used, DST apparently did save a scant amount of energy (one per cent) when it was first introduced. Today, however, there is research suggesting that despite a reduced demand for household lighting, increased demand for air-conditioning on warm summer evenings and heating on cool spring and fall evenings actually increases energy demand; offsetting any possible benefits.
Computers and televisions also increase energy consumption regardless of whether the sun is up or not.
The pros and cons of DST will continue to be hotly debated in every country that uses it and a quick search on the Internet will result in a plethora of arguments for and against.
Saskatchewan is the only Canadian province that doesn’t switch the time back and forth and in fact, observes Daylight Saving Time year-round. For the rest of Canadians, this Sunday is the day there’s no choice but to make the switch.
So try to look on the bright side and make use of that extra hour of daylight in the evening as well as the extra hour of morning darkness until DST ends on Sunday, Nov. 4.
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