I experienced, last weekend, the confusion so familiar to people in 2010. Millions across the country, either late into the night or early the morning, will have struggled with this conundrum at an hour when their full attention on any task is hard. It is: does my phone turn the hour back automatically or not?
In my case, my Iphone did – though I assumed it didn’t, creating a whole heap of early-morning fun.
Subsequently, I have come across the ‘Light Later’ campaign, run by the 10:10 group. Their proposal is to:
The idea is simple: we shift the clocks forward by one hour throughout the entire year. We would still put the clocks forward in spring and back in autumn, but we would have moved an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening, when more of us are awake to enjoy it.
It’s a model also known as ‘Single Double Summer Time’, which it’s at all a confusing phrase. It’s a brilliant idea, and one I absolutely support. There are a whole host of reasons, which the campaign explain, my favourites being:
- Cut at least 447,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution – equivalent to more than 50,000 cars driving all the way around the world – each year
- Save 100 lives each year and prevent hundreds of serious injuries by making the roads safer
- Help make people healthier and tackle obesity by giving people more time to exercise and play sport outside in the evening
A measure like that, which can reduce carbon emissions, save lives, and help the health of nation, is an ingenious and long overdue proposal. Think about it – is there really that much use of having more light in the morning? A great deal of the population is traveling to work, school etc – something they would be doing even if it was dark. So few of us enjoy our mornings anyway, much better to have that extra daylight after 5pm when we can use if freely.
Our measurement of time is for the most part, entirely artificial anyway, so mucking about with isn’t a problem.
On a personal note, I see it providing several benefits. The fact that I now leave work in the dark is hardly an inspiring feeling. I’m much less inclined to cycle after work once it’s dark, or do anything except stay indoors.
I have however, failed to convince 2 of my 3 colleagues in the office of the idea, nor my housemate, who seemed to interpret the fact that nations can change their time willy nilly as nothing less than a threat to civilisation itself. Most difficult was trying to explain how it would save on carbon emissions, so I post the campaign’s explanation below:
The first reason the change would save energy and cut carbon is simple: by more closely matching the times when most of us are awake with the times that the sun is shining, we would reduce our daily need for electric lighting. Think about a summer day: few people are awake at, say, 5am when the sun comes up, but most homes have their lights on at 9.30pm when the sun goes down.
The second reason that shifting the clocks would save energy and carbon is a little more complicated. When we all use electricity at the same time this results in even more fuel consumption and carbon emissions than usual, because the least efficient power stations get fired up to meet the extra ‘peak’ in demand. At present, the peak demand period for electricity each day – the period between 4pm to 6.30pm, when most of us arrive home from work, school or university – coincides with nightfall for much of the year. So as well as switching on the kettle and the television when we get home, we’re also switching all the lights on at the same time, making that peak in demand even higher than it would have been already.