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Monday, October 27, 2014

Russia Dumps Summer Time; Israel Next?


While Israeli officials over the weekend extolled the extension of daylight savings time to its latest date ever in Israel, others are less enamored of the system. In Russia, they change the clocks this weekend as well – and they will stay that way. From frazzled nerves to uncomfortable cows, Russia's three year experiment with summer time has been a bust – and the country is dumping the whole idea.

Following the common wisdom, Russia several years ago instituted summer time all year round. Clocks were moved ahead, but they did not fall back. The idea was to extend daylight even in the meager Russian winter, and to keep workers' and students' attention sharper, based on studies that people feel more energetic when the sun stays out longer.

It didn't work – mostly because people started out their days in darkness, “clouding” the entire day for them. According to officials, people were more depressed and productivity ended up being lower than it had been before. With everyone up before the sun, nerves were frayed – both among people and farm animals, whose natural circadian rhythms were interrupted by the change. In the end, it was decided that the losses due to daylight savings time outpaced the gains.

While several officials over the weekend said that Israel had saved tens of millions of dollars by extending summer time, not all Israeli politicians agree. MK Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) said that intends to file a bill this week to cancel the concept of time change entirely, stating that the yearly "spring forward, fall back" custom just causes a national headache.

"Early this morning, the sun was almost at its zenith," Kariv noted. "Sunset is at 5:00 pm today and most public parks in this country will not be lit properly. 'Winter time' harms most citizens of Israel. It's unnecessary, depressing, and affects both children and their parents," she added. "As we have managed to extend daylight [savings time], I want to abolish the time change entirely and leave light in our lives."  



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