You really start to notice it when you lose an hour’s sleep because of it – yes, I am referring to the Daylight Saving Time that kicked in at 2:00 AM local time today for those living in the North American continent. This article isn’t about how it works, but rather why it’s done and where it’s done, and for probably the first time looking at how it’s related to the priorities of the local land. I came across an excellent article in the Washington Post today that spoke of why the day light saving, which is at 1-hour adjustments in its present form, should be doubled.
Essentially, in terms of the impact (I put it as if it’s a big thing, which it seems so – for today anyway), what happens is that the second Sunday of March sees the clocks turned forward by an hour in the wee hours of the morning. So, if you were accustomed to waking up at 6:00 in the morning every day, you would wake up with the auto-corrected clocks (one of Microsoft’s less-frustrating and positive influences on our lives!) showing 7:00 in the morning.
The reverse happens when winter starts to set in towards the end of the year, and day-light saving is turned off, so to speak. The reasons why this was originally started was to enable people to get an extra hour of day light in the evenings during the summer. With the American lifestyle of the summer revolving mainly around visiting ballparks for a game of baseball, or visiting friends and family for a barbecue, or even hanging out by the beach, this hour of sun light and natural warmth after a long day at work is relished upon. More so, when you have nearly 6 months of winter wherein you really get to see little or no day light, this is indeed a welcome and much anticipated opportunity to bask in the sun!
If it isn’t clear already, I am heading towards the intangible aspects of the day light savings change – the improvement in the quality of life is what dictated this effort in adjusting clocks. To get an hour of quality time in the evenings, where one could spend his / her time outdoors, there has been a significant effort put in to alter anything under the sun (pun intended). Such is the value and emphasis on quality of life that certain societies seem to place. I did a quick search online to see which developing nations have adopted day light saving vis-a-vis the developed nations. It didn’t surprise me one bit when my short and quick research this morning indicated that most of the countries that adopted day-light saving in the summer were further along the economic prosperity curve. I have not been able to find any research that links the GDP of a nation to whether it adopted day-light saving (maybe I should be enlisted by United Nations or some research funded group to do this!).
Inherently, this points to a very basic human trait that derives from the local culture – are we willing to do something purely to improve the quality of life? Or, is quality of life a secondary goal (at this specific instance) of a country’s other numerous high-priority issues that call for more attention? The geographic specifics and local climes also dictate day-light saving as I have indicated. But looking beyond, can we look at the demographics? Does the selfless nature ingrained in some cultures play, at least some part, a role in not considering improving quality of life, a sole priority? I am sure no one would say quality of life isn’t important – whether we are willing to do some thing exclusively for it is the question.
Image Credit: Paradigm