COLUMN: Fall back time an answer to change

NANAIMO – Not too many people of clocks being moved forward an hour in the spring.

OK, I’m assuming most of you didn’t go to bed early to compensate for that hour of sleep you lost on the weekend.

Like a few people I know, I’m not a fan of daylight time.

Daylight savings was something a lot of people haggled over, but nobody seriously wanted until Germany started it up on April 30, 1916 to conserve energy.

Apparently during the First World War it had to do with issues around coal shortages and air raid blackouts, both of which I guess are easier to manage in daylight.

The British followed suit a month later and the U.S. started it up in 1918.

Retailers and manufacturers liked it and if they liked it the government liked it and – you know how it goes – once the government likes something, like taxes, you never get rid of it.

What daylight time amounts to is a way for employers to conserve energy and money by not having to provide their slaves – me and some of you – with light for an extra hour in the winter. At least that’s how I see it.

They even slip the clocks forward at 2 a.m., hoping we’ll sleep through it without noticing and end up blaming ourselves when we crash our cars due to sleep deprivation.

My jury is out on what health issues, if any, are actually associated with shifting the clocks back and forth an hour twice a year, but studies keep getting quoted about car crash and heart attack statistics jumping after the changes.

It’s mostly industrialized countries in the northern hemisphere that use it, but look at a daylight time world map – trust me, there’s one on Wikipedia –-  displaying what countries employ it and you’ll find most don’t follow it and even the ones that do have pockets of communities and regions that stick to standard time.

Saskatchewan, except for two tiny communities in the province called Denare Beach and Creighton, Hawaii and Arizona don’t observe it. Neither does Fort St. John, Charlie Lake, Taylor, Dawson Creek or Creston, B.C. – and one little chunk on the east coast of Greenland where probably no one lives or cares.

I have family in Arizona and I can almost never figure out what time it is in Phoenix before I call, because they’re either one or two hours ahead depending on the time of year. I just can’t remember what time of year.

Most of the rest of the world either never followed daylight time or has since abandoned it.

Kazakhstan dumped it in 2004 citing health and safety concerns. Kyrgyzistan followed suit for its own reasons in 2005.

I’ve worked at least three graveyard shift jobs over the years. The one thing I looked forward to every morning was that false dawn when the first glimmer of morning light would trigger some gland in my brain to secrete whatever hormone it is that wakes you up.

Just as things would work out so that I was functioning as a productive human being for half of each shift because I’d stopped battling the other hormone that makes you sleepy, the time change would come along and prolong the agony for about another month.

I’d love to see daylight time abolished here, but somehow I can’t see governments in Canada, the U.S. and most of Europe coming to their senses anytime soon, so I’ll put forth a proposal from one of my co-workers who suggested we just go on permanent fall back time and just keep turning the clock back at a certain time each year.

That way we could avoid a whole bunch of health risks and potential accidents due to sleep deprivation because we’ll always be gaining an extra hour of sleep each year.