For millions of Europeans twice every year, changing the clocks for Daylight Savings means a sudden change to their morning routines. Some countries, particularly in the north, see their workers and schoolchildren leaving home in the dark. This is hardly normal.
Lawmakers in the European Parliament have voted 384 to 153 to evaluate the cost/benefit of the EU keeping up with the practice of ye olden days. Whether it’s deemed obscure or still necessary, member states would be free to decide about their individual temporal regimes: they might opt to retain summer time (at the current or a modified DST schedule) or to end summer time.
The European Parliament’s Research Service published a study on EU summer-time arrangements last October, which found that the health implications of Daylight Saving Time are “more severe” than previously thought.
“The lack of sleep that [the clock change] provokes for many fellow citizens poses a real problem of road safety,” said French Greens MEP Karima Delli during this week’s debate. On the other hand, Belgian MEP Hilde Vautmans said that losing summer time would mean “that for seven months we lose one hour of light. That would mean the end of beautiful summer evenings with friends on the terrace in the garden, of biking or jogging with therefore a lesser quality of life.
Finland will lobby for the abolition of the dreaded and controversial clock change practice within the European Union after more than 70,000 Finns signed a petition last year.
The US had added three more weeks to Daylight Saving Time in 2005, partially hoping to capitalize on potential energy savings. But by 2007 that dream hadn’t panned out: people just consumed more electricity in the dark morning hours instead of in the dark evening hours.
Years ago, Russia tried to go on permanent-summer, but changed to permanent-winter in 2014 after the summer-time-in-winter change gave people stress and health problems when it stayed darker for longer during winter mornings, according to the BBC.