OK, we're getting back into the busy season for #LockTheClock.
I know this blog has been a bit quiet, but in part that's because I've been so busy behind the scenes. Some of the stuff I can talk about, and some I can't. Not yet. But when I can... Boy Howdy! It's going to be tremendously fantastically big.
If you are just visiting for the first time, here's what you need to know:
- This is the official site for trying to do away with switching the clock in and out of Daylight Saving Time.
- It's not a full-time thing, there's no money behind it, but it is a legitimate movement now. I've been working on it for five years on nights and weekends, and I can tell you for sure that we ARE making progress.
- If you are a citizen and want to know what you can do to help, read this post.
- If you want to write to tell me you just had a brilliant idea, that we should move the clock 30 minutes and call it a compromise, well, let's just say you aren't the first to have that idea. If you want to work on that for five years, contact hundreds of legislators, do tons of press, write scores of blog posts, and convince people it's a good idea — go for it! Just don't write to me and tell me about it.
If you just survived the switch into Daylight Saving Time in Australia or New Zealand (weirdly even those two friendly countries don't switch on the same weekend), welcome! For the first time this year I noticed a huge uptick in visitors from Down Under.
I haven't yet had too many visitors from Iran, but I learned from a Lyft driver (and confirmed it on the internet) that Iran switches into DST on the first day of Spring and out on the first day of Fall. It doesn't matter if the equinoxes fall on a Saturday night or not, they just switch, even if it's mid-week.
While I'm interested in other countries, I'm most interested in what's happened recently in the European Union.
Europe to Beat the US to #LockTheClock?
The news out of Europe is that all the member states of the EU will be ending the clock-changing insanity, starting in 2021.
It's not final yet, but if I can read the tea leaves of this official statement, it seems like a done deal.
This is fantastic news for all the regular reasons, but especially because it mirrors what I think is the best solution for us in the U.S.
<Begin DST Nerd section, skip over if you are sleepy.>
There is a lot of debate about if we should switch to permanent Standard Time (what we have in the winter) or permanent Daylight Saving Time.
Officially, the position of this movement is to not take a position. The only thing we are asking is to #LockTheClock, no more changing the clock twice per year.
More specifically, in a country as big and diverse as the United States, there's no one, clear answer. All of the opinion polls say that people want more daylight later in the day when they can use it more. Most businesses want more daylight later, it's better for golf and other recreation industries, as well as retail sales.
Also, there are just a lot of weird little exceptions. Eastern Oregon. Northern Idaho. Western Nebraska.
Two of our biggest states by population, Texas and Florida, have relatively small bits hanging out in a less-populous time zone to the west.
Also Arizona, which people think doesn't participate in DST, except that a huge swath of the state still does in the Navajo Nation. Indiana and Michigan have some odd spots, and Kentucky and Tennessee are cut right in half.
Weirdly, if the U.S. was to adopt the European system, it would be the most American thing we could do. A big part of our history is leaving a lot of the governing up to the states. Congress could pass a law saying that we are going to match the Europeans and stop changing clocks in 2021, and each state would have until then to decide which time zone they'll be in.
Some states won't have much say. California will be in the Pacific, New York in the East. But some states could decide that they want to unify, or even move. Michigan and Indiana should be in the Central Time zone if a person were trying to draw somewhat straight lines. I'm not sure why they aren't, but I would guess it has something to do with big business, even if big business did blame the farmers, the same way they've always done.
That's the best approach to federal legislation, something I am lobbying for. I haven't gotten there yet, but the fact that the current bill going through Congress seems to be dead may help the sponsors cast about for a new approach. I'm actively working on that right now.
<End DST Nerd section>
The good news is that compared to when I started working on this, I can see the momentum changing in the press inquiries I'm getting, the legislative interest, the visitors to this site, and more.
So, I know you won't like changing the clock again this fall, even though this is the one where you get an extra hour of sleep. But you can get that sleep with a bit of comfort that the world of clock changing is slowly drifting away.