Why one time
The first reason to start clock changes was to achieve economical savings. The intention was to reduce costs for lighting in streets as well as in households. It was a very simple view of a complex matter of human biorhythms. It has been scientifically proved that clock changes twice a year cause medical and psychosomatic problems to many people. It has also appeared that the initial economical reasons are false - there are practically no savings, vice versa, there are higher indirect costs instead!
History of clock changes
The idea of making better use of day light by means of the clock change originates in 18th century. First, it was a kind of exaggeration. However, within following one hundred years it changed into a real economical concept. The real Daylight Saving Time (DST), which is the changed one, was first applied during WWI, in 1916. Gradually, it was adopted in several European countries (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden), later, in 1918, in the USA too. The DST was implemented in Russia too, namely in 1917. However, as early as then the DST was not very popular. This was caused mainly by the fact that it was not an hour shift but sometimes it was even a three-hour change.
In the following decades the DST was gradually cancelled and implemented again.
The time change was connected with the definition of time zones as well and every country had its own approach. Particularly in the Czech countries it was used in 1940-1942, and then from 1943 to 1949. In Czechoslovakia the DST was regularly used from 1979 and in 1996 the clock change harmonized with the European Union. From then on our clocks are one hour ahead from the last Sunday in March till the last Sunday in October.
Which time is right?
The right time is the astronomical one – it means the time where at 12 p.m. the sun is directly above our heads. However, due to the time zones and meridians this definition cannot be fully met. Therefore, formally we can understand the non-shifted, or the winter, time as the right one. From October to March the time more or less follows the position of the Sun and the Earth and the noon comes in the middle of the day and midnight is in the middle of the night. In summer the clock changes one hour ahead (from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.) and thus this time is unnatural and wrong.
Reasons to cancel the clock change
There are many reasons why to refuse the clock change. During the years of the monitoring of this issue we have gathered a lot of experience as well as scientific evidences speaking against the clock change. Generally, they can be divided into three areas.
Health (psychosomatic) problems
March and October clock changes negatively influence health and well-being of many people. At that time many of us can feel how the change of our regime influences our daily routine and natural daily rhythm. The most sensitive individuals – children and seniors- are influenced most often. However, others also describe certain difficulties. It is the above mentioned change of the daily regime that children perceive as especially problematic. Children do not have such strong and trained will as adults and if they are to get up and go to school an hour earlier or later, they can really feel it. There are surveys that describe the loss of concentration and other minor health impacts. Seniors, whose sensitive health is more receptive to the impacts of the daily regime changes, describe similar feelings. Many adults in general talk about sleep disorders, loss of concentration and bad mood. Surely – these are only minor complications and they fade within a few weeks. However, this change comes twice a year and the only reason for it is that it should bring some financial savings.
The effect concerning the economical savings has proved false. The original argument was that the change would enable to make better use of daylight and it wouldn’t be necessary to use so much artificial lighting. It might have been so at the beginning of this experiment. However, nowadays this saving approximates zero. Several surveys have proved that concerning light it brings practically no savings (a few percent maximum). Vice versa, these days the clock change is connected with unexpected costs. Actually, the greatest concern is not the cost of energy, but the unfavourable encroachment on the work organization. Due to the clock change trains stop for an hour (or are one hour delayed), computers and linked information systems complicatedly coordinate the global clock change. Also the negative effects connected with health impacts are worth mentioning – not only children at school, but also adults at work experience problems with their concentration, which inevitably influences their diligence and efficiency. Somewhere between the health and economical reasons we will find the suffering of domestic and farm animals, which have no other choice but to follow people’s rhythms and the one-hour change every six months is an unexpected shock for them. Many farmers thus don’t even change their clocks, as they know that it would bring more complications to their animals than to themselves.
The attempts to change time and thus the rhythm of life as well are some of the signs of human foolishness. Hopefully, today we can say we have learnt our lesson and we know that it is not possible to direct nature. In many aspects we have modified the laws of nature according to our needs and wishes, but much more often we have failed. Based on the above stated reasons it is obvious that the seemingly simple idea of making better use of daylight leads to unforeseeable impacts on the functioning of the whole society. We believe that now it is appropriate to respect the order of nature. We have seen that breaching the life cycle brings problems. That is why call for the abolishment of this administrative and functionless routine.