Opinion: Want permanent Daylight Saving Time? Then you wake up my kids in the dark
A Congress that hasn’t been moved by climate catastrophe, the undermining of voting rights or an assault on the Capitol finally stumbled on its red line: changing the clocks twice a year. In a rare moment of political unity amid our collective national grogginess following the annual “spring forward” ritual on March 13, the Senate voted unanimously to do away with the semiannual clock change.
Lawmakers’ solution is to keep the country permanently on Daylight Saving Time, a move endorsed by The Times’ Editorial Board in part because of “parental concerns about safety.” As the father of three elementary-aged children, I’ll keep that in mind when that unforgiving yet brief period of morning darkness in late March and early April is expanded to the rest of winter. Maybe knowing this was done with safety in mind will blunt the misery of trying to wrest three children out of bed without the assistance of sunlight.
Throw in the added benefit of political unity, and surely the kids will see through their winter morning exhaustion for the greater good. Maybe it’ll do the same for our letter writers, most of whom aren’t thrilled about the likely abandonment of standard time.
To the editor: Let’s think about this rationally, shall we?
Under permanent Daylight Saving Time, states on the extreme ends of the time zones and those in the north of the country will be, in the winter months, sending children to school in the dark. There will be more car crashes as commuters drive in the pre-dawn darkness.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has time and again advocated for remaining on standard time, citing research that shows higher incidences of depression and disease associated with darkness in the morning hours.
Merchants, however, say permanent Daylight Saving Time would be a boost to the economy, giving consumers more daylight to spend their money.
How about a compromise? On Nov. 6 this year, move the clocks back one half hour and then keep them there. That would somewhat accommodate all concerned.
Roxanne Vettese, Oxnard
To the editor: In response to your question, “Doesn’t the light in the sky at 7 p.m. feel great?” I say, “Doesn’t the light in the sky at 7 a.m. feel good?”
Year-round Daylight Saving Time will keep us in the dark past 7 a.m. in the winter, especially those who live in the northern U.S. Many people rise early for school, work and recreation, and we like to begin our days with light in the sky.
Trading light in the morning for light at night isn’t really “saving” daylight at all.
Lawrence Marquart, Thousand Oaks
To the editor: Way to play the kid card, incorrectly.
Kids need more exercise, yes, but they are already wholly alienated from the natural rhythms of life by their screens, and this proposed law means even more disconnection from nature and ultimately less exercise.
Permanent Daylight Saving Time means that by mid-December, the sun won’t rise until 8 a.m., and children will be walking in the dark, as you force them and actual working people to operate against their circadian rhythms.
Conversely, without Daylight Saving Time, in mid-June the sun would set at 7:15 p.m., meaning kids could play outside with natural light until almost 8. That’s plenty of time for exercise.
Maybe if all people were more attuned to nature, they would be less compelled by their screens, be more in touch with the rhythms of the earth, and be more likely to go outside to play with their kids after dinner.
Christoper Kanjo, Santa Monica
To the editor: I am strongly opposed to year-round Daylight Saving Time. Follow the science and listen to the sleep experts.
If people are opposed to year-round standard time, the best alternative would be to move the spring time change from the second week of March to the first week of April, where it was until several years ago.
Linda Roselund, Rosemead
To the editor: Changing clocks to an inaccurate setting neither adds nor subtracts a single nanosecond of daylight to or from any day. It merely tells us we’re hapless dupes who, like Chanticleer the rooster, believe the sun rises only because we crow.
If we want to adjust our schedules to take advantage of the natural and immutable changes in the lengths of days, we can do that without manipulating the clocks.
Why, simply because our grandparents were suckers, need we assume the need to use force of law to compel our clocks to lie?
Mike Jelf, Lomita
To the editor: Does anyone really think that an extra hour of sun will be added to their day if Daylight Saving Time is made permanent?
I wonder, will we still use the vernal equinox or summer solstice, or will that change too?
Barbara Sandefur, Ojai
To the editor: There is a very simple solution to avoid sending children to school in the dark under year-round Daylight Saving Time.
During winter, just start school an hour later. Kids will think they’re getting an extra hour to sleep, but in reality they’ll be going to school at the same time they did under standard time.
Gary Davis, Los Angeles