It's the weekend for the “Spring Forward” clock change in Europe. Everyone in all of the 28 member states set their clocks forward this weekend, and face the harsh reality of the alarm clock waking them up an hour earlier than their body is expecting on Monday morning.
(If you are in Europe, please think about going into work late on Monday, and #SleepInForSafety!)
And while we in the U.S. have hope that we will be able to #LockTheClock and stop changing our clocks twice per year, in Europe they have a solid plan, and 2021 is when the clock changing will end.
Now, I should be the first to say that this is not the most pressing issue in Europe right now. The Brexit issue is overwhelming, and the other issues like the Article 13 copyright rules are important and not to be dismissed.
That said, this Monday in Europe will see a spike in heart attacks, strokes, traffic accidents, etc. The list goes on and on. So it was proper for the European Parliament to take up this issue, and I was glad to see that it passed so handily, 410 to 192.
So the argument that we should do nothing because there are other things we should do (probably the most common argument I hear, right after “The Farmers” as a reason not to fix the clocks) did not carry the day.
And the parliament also did something that our U.S. Congress should take note of: They decided to give power to the individual countries. The year 2021 is the year that the clock-changing stops, and each country has until then to figure out what time zone it wants to stay in year-round.
(By the way, that is a PERFECT approach for the United States. Geography and parochial interests play a part in this discussion. What's best for Maine may not be the best for Nevada.)
What really made me laugh in the arguments in Europe was a claim that somehow the Parliament wanted to be “Time Lords” by saying that we should not change the clocks twice per year.
“You would think they had other things to worry about without wanting to become time lords,” [John Flack] said, in an apparent reference to the BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who.
So, right now the government makes us change clocks twice per year, but somehow ending that barbaric practice makes the government more of a Time Lord? I think it’s just the opposite.
As I told The New Yorker, the very concept of “time” is an agreement among people, just as is “government.” It seems like a good goal for both is to keep the health and safety of the people in mind first of all. If we know that changing clocks is bad for people — and we do — then stopping the practice of being a Time Lord twice per year is exactly the right thing for government to do.
So, good luck to my friends in Europe, especially those in England, where losing an hour of sleep seems like exactly the wrong thing at this perilous moment in history. Get as much sleep as you can, and know that we are all pulling for the right thing to happen for you with your government, and with your time, and we in the U.S. hope to follow your example and #LockTheClock.