Greece is due to set its clocks back by an hour on October 31 as the Spring/Summer daylight saving period comes to a close and the Winter period begins. The transition occurs as the EU’s push to abolish daylight saving time is proving largely unsuccessful.
Originally, daylight savings time had been instituted as a way to save power during wartime and when electricity was needed the most– something that is hardly the case in Europe today. In addition, it has been claimed that not pushing the time back one hour, remaining on Summertime, helps in the reduction of traffic accidents and even improves the circadian rhythms of the human body.
Former EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had stated flatly back in 2018 “We carried out a survey, millions responded, and believe that in future, Summertime should be year-round, and that’s what will happen. The people want it, we’ll do it.”
At the time, it seemed like a slam-dunk that everyone could agree would benefit the citizens of all nations.
However, it is clear now that the Commission itself has no such power to simply decree that all member nations employ daylight savings time or not. Conversely, it is a decision which must be made by each and every national government in the Union.
The different daylight saving practices across the world
While daylight saving may not be over in the EU yet, many countries have never acclimated to the practice, while others have been able to shake it from their schedules.
The majority of Africa, Singapore, and Japan have never taken part in daylight savings. India, Brazil, Egypt, Malaysia, and Russia have all been successful at eliminating daylight savings time from their societies.
And while the switch to daylight savings time is a famous annual occurrence in the US, not every state uses the system. Hawaii and Arizona, which are both closer to the equator, are the only two states who do not change their clocks.
“Arizona is the sole contiguous state that abstains from daylight saving time, citing its extreme summer temperatures,” Assistant Professor Laura Grant of McKenna College in California said to Australian site News.
“Although this disparity causes confusion for travellers, the state’s residents have not changed clocks’ times for over 40 years,” she states in a piece on daylight savings published by The Conversation.
“Everyone has strong opinions about daylight savings,” she continued.
“Many people welcome the shift … as a signal of spring. Others like the co-ordinated availability of daylight after work.
“Dissenters, including farmers, curse their loss of quiet morning hours.”
Professor Grant believes that the most efficient solution is to stop changing the clock but keep daylight saving for good – a system that Saskatchewan and Iceland have implemented successfully.
“If we abandon the twice-yearly switch, we may eventually slide back into old routines and habits of sleeping in during daylight,” she states.