Down with daylight savings

It's far past time for the Yukon to end its observance of a barbaric cultural practice - we're talking, of course, about daylight savings.

It’s far past time for the Yukon to end its observance of a barbaric cultural practice – we’re talking, of course, about daylight savings.

After enduring a long winter, most Yukoners around this time have just rediscovered the joy of waking around the same time as sunlight creeps over the horizon, only to be cruelly pitched back into a world of darkness. And for what?

The chief benefit of daylight savings is being able to enjoy sunnier evenings. Maybe this is a reasonable trade-off if you live in lower latitudes, but it makes little sense when you already reside in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Dwindling light during the summer months is not a problem in need of fixing here.

Boosters of daylight savings often say it helps save energy, but a variety of studies have shown that these savings are either negligible or non-existent. There are, however, actual health and safety trade-offs. Studies have shown an uptick in motor vehicle crashes during the week following daylight saving switches. Other studies have found increases in the amount of heart attacks and strokes during these time shifts. And there’s the obvious loss of productivity that comes with bleary-eyed workers struggling with sleep deprivation.

Daylight savings is commonly imagined to have been brought about to benefit farmers, but in reality farmers have often opposed the measure, since earlier daylight is typically a boon in their line of work. Many credit Ben Franklin for first proposing the idea back in 1784. It’s worth noting that he did so as a joke, in a satirical letter that mocked how late the French slept in.

Germany adopted the practice in earnest in 1916, as a war measure to conserve the amount of coal burned by residents in the evening. Other countries soon followed, and the practice fell in and out of fashion for the decades to follow – daylight savings’ boosters were often avid golfers, another ridiculous endeavour, but that’s another subject altogether – until the 1960s, when it became commonplace in America. Canada soon followed.

However, our enlightened brethren in Saskatchewan never bought into this masochistic enterprise. Parts of British Columbia have also opted out, including the Peace River region to the province’s north, which includes Dawson Creek. That’s right: there are Canadians who live at the base of the same highway that snakes through the Yukon who do not abide by the tyranny that is daylight savings.

Similarly, in the U.S., the states of Arizona and Hawaii have conscientiously objected to daylight savings. And lately, lawmakers in California, New England, and our good neighbours in Alaska are all toying with the idea of doing away with this barbarity.

There are many aggravations in life that are beyond the control of our legislators to easily fix. Daylight savings is not one of them. All it would take is a simple debate and vote for Yukon’s MLAs to liberate the territory from this abomination, as Canada’s Constitution makes standardized time a provincial and territorial responsibility.

Let’s say enough to all this falling back and springing forward, and cease this senseless tradition of state-imposed jet lag.

Just Posted

Northwestel says it is investigating into the cause of the total communications blackout throughout the territory after a power failure in Whitehorse on Wednesday night.
Internet outage prompts criticism on Dempster fibre project delays

The Liberals responded that they have proceeded cautiously to avoid high costs.

A motorcycle with driver pulled over on the right side of the North Klondike Highway whose speed was locked in at 171 kilometres per hour. (Courtesy/Yukon RCMP)
Patrols of Yukon highways find poorly-secured loads, intoxicated drivers

The ongoing patrols which police call ‘Operation Cooridor’ is mainly focused on commercial vehicles.

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

More than 25,000 people have received the firsdt dose of the vaccine, according to the Yukon government. (Black Press file)
Yukon has now vaccinated 76 per cent of eligible adults

The territory has surpassed its goal of 75 per cent as a first step toward ‘herd immunity’

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Most Read