At least this is my opinion. You may no agree with me, but after reading this article, maybe I’ll be able to convince you. First, let me tell you that I’m against this measure, even if I’m for the saving of energy and protection of the environment. But summer time? I’m totally rejecting that idea.
What’s the summer time concept basically? In Mauritius, we’ll be moving our clocks forward by one hour. That is, if it’s actually 6 a.m in the morning, our clocks will be showing 7 a.m. This means that people waking up at 6 a.m (without summer time) will wake up 1 hour earlier. You go to work 1 hour earlier, and return 1 hour earlier. This also means (in theory) that you will get to use daylight for 1 more hour per day instead of using electricity.
(DST will apply from 26th October to 29th March at midnight for both).
But according to me, it’s not that simple. Let’s see the case against, since the Government and others are already hammering us all with the case for.
1) How many countries use DST (Daylight Saving Time = Summer Time) in the southern hemisphere?
I say, not loads. And I will back it with a map, which I got from here.
From what you see in the map, loads of Northern hemisphere (NH) countries use DST (yellow), while only very few Southern hemisphere (SH) countries use it (green). Grey areas don’t use DST. There’s a good reason for it. Countries like the UK get sunlight till around 20-21h when it’s totally dark here. So if the people in NH get 1 hour to use daylight, it does make savings. Here, it’s totally dark by 18h30.
2) Can’t see a thing in the morning!
This leads to my second point. We return home 1 hour early. This means that people are able to do more things in daylight, and not switch on the lights. I agree. That’s one hour saved. Now let’s consider next morning. Instead of waking up at 6 a.m, you will wake up at 5 a.m. There is hardly any light so early in the morning. It’s still too dark. What do you do then? Switch on the lights of course! Hell, even the street lights are still on at 5 am!
Finally, the result is: you saved one hour the previous day in the evening, and you use the saved one hour the next day, in the morning. Where’s the savings? I see no saving!
3) People wake up waaaayyy too early
I wake up at 6 a.m. I need to leave my house at 7 a.m to get to uni at 8 a.m since courses start at 8.30 am. Remember the huge traffic jams in Mauritius? Now with DST: I need to get up at 5 a.m (the clock shows it’s 6 a.m), leave the house at 6 a.m, and get to uni at 7 a.m (the clock shows 8 a.m) and courses start at… 7.30 am (clock shows 8.30 a.m)! I HATE WAKING UP EARLY! >.<
Now, that’s for me. But remember that there are people that get up even earlier? I’ve got a friend. He needs to leave home at 6 a.m even with no DST. Now the poor guy needs to leave at 5 a.m and get up at 4 a.m! (Those are real day times. The clocks would show: get-up: 5 a.m and leave at 6 a.m).
That’s still ok. Let’s consider the people who work in fields and agriculture. They work at 4 a.m (real time) usually. Now with DST they need to go to work at 3 a.m (real time, clock shows: 4 a.m)?
What about the bus driver? The first bus starts at 4 a.m (real time). Now it will go at 3 a.m (real time)? The guy needs to wake up at what, 1.30 a.m??
You think this is normal?
The Government says: But hey, you will go to sleep one hour earlier too! So it amounts to the same duration of sleep. I say no! Your body tends to keep a rhythm. You’ve been waking up and sleeping at a defined time since your childhood. It’s not easy to change that rhythm! I bet most of you will just wake up one hour earlier, and sleep at the same time you used to. This means, one hour of sleep lost. This also means that we’ll be walking zombies due to tiredness.
EDIT: Today, DST was applied. Now, it’s 19h45. It’s still relatively bright outside. Like dusk has just ended. Street lights starting to get on. The one hour that people gained will probably be used to do more activities. That’s one hour of activities more. Thus, I guess people’s normal routines will shift by one hour. Dinner prepared one hour later. You watch TV one hour later. And sleep one hour later than usual.
How many times do you hear this: “Enkor faire clair la, nu kaw faire xyz”? Then this “xyz” activity will last till it’s still bright. Till 19h15-19h30. Then you stop, and start your normal activities (which would start at 18h30 without DST). You are already one hour late. See what I mean?
If my reasoning holds, people will be losing one hour of sleep when they go to sleep. It’d be too bright just to go to bed early. People’s body clock are regulated by light.
4) The last time, DST didn’t hold
The last time the government decided to implement DST, it didn’t last very long. My dad tells me there were widespread protests and that people were very tired. I’ll trust him on that one since I was not born yet! If an idea didn’t work in the past, why do they want to re-implement it? I can’t understand that!
5) No research/survey conducted
Joël de Rosnay, the PM’s “Special Adviser” mentioned it on the radios the other day. There was no real scientific research and surveys conducted about implementation of DST in Mauritius. There was no research to gauge the health and social impacts on Mauritians. I doubt any research was even conducted to see if DST would allow energy savings. So, am I to assume the Government just decided to implement DST just because they liked it? Joël de Rosnay is a scientist, he knows what he’s talking about.
Today itself, I heard a Sociologist talking on the Radio Plus. I didn’t catch his name. He mentioned something interesting. When people come home early, they will have dinner earlier, and everything earlier. But this does not mean they’ll go to bed earlier! He mentioned that people will tend to go out more, since they have more time. This in turn will cause an increase in oil/gas consumption by vehicles, mentioning that there are no savings. He’s right about not sleeping early. People are not automatons after all!
This statement just strengthened my view that no scientific research was conducted to decide if DST is required in Mauritius or not.
6) Because other people say DST is pointless
I’m adding this point because I just found a site, Afrol, that usually discusses African news. I’ll quote some parts for you:
The government of Mauritius has decided that the island nation will introduce Summer (Daylight saving) Time, starting in October this year. Mauritius will be the first sub-Saharan African nation to do so, connecting the island more closely to tourist and business markets in Europe. The Mauritian cabinet, in the context of promoting Mauritius as “Une Île Durable”, has agreed to the introduction into the national parliament of the Time Bill, which provides for the introduction of summer time in Mauritius.
According to government, the summer time initiative is expected to “produce gains to the country, reduce global carbon emissions, generate substantial savings in terms of energy production and consumption, and at the same time, reduce the electricity peak demand in the evening by some 15 MW.”
The use of Daylight saving time (DST) is mostly confined to countries located at high latitudes, including all Europe except Iceland and most of North America. In the southern hemisphere, DST is only used in southern South America (notably Chile and Argentina), New Zealand and some parts of Australia.
In Africa, the use of DST is seldom and in most cases counterproductive, as the continent’s location close to the equator produces only very small differences in daylight in winter and summer.
However, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt follow European summer time, while DST earlier was tried out in countries such as South Africa, Madagascar, Botswana, Algeria, Libya, Sudan and Ghana. These experiments however did not last long and no sub-Saharan country now uses DST.
The use of summer time has been controversial in many countries. For business and leisure, the longer time-span of daylight during summer is seen as an advantage, as it may turn out for Mauritius’ large tourism industry. But DST causes problems for the farming sector and other occupations tied to the sun. Claims that DST reduces electricity consume [sic], often an important goal for governments introducing the system, mostly have proven unrealistic.
Go see the source for yourself! Oh by the way, the 15MW saved? It’s approximately equal to the power of 15-20 wind turbines! Can you call that savings? And large tourism industry? In a global recession? Let’s see how long the “large” holds.
After all this, what’s the point of implementing DST? The Call Centres / BPOs don’t like it, the people of religion, the students – I bet – will simply hate it, as will the population after they feel the effect of tiredness. So why does the Government persist? Is there a hidden agenda somewhere? Do they want to seem more developed by adopting something Europeans or Americans do? I guess they really want to lose the upcoming elections!
The CEB did mention one thing: They want the electricity consumption peak to shift. I don’t see how DST affects the peak usage. It’ll just shift to 1 hour later.
Till now, nobody could convince me about the benefits of DST for Mauritius. So for now, I’m still against it.
( I really don’t want to go to courses at 7 a.m, with possibly one hour of sleep less each day! )
Anyways, some people are really taking this positively. Let’s wait and see. Either I am wrong and everybody will be fine, or I’ll be seeing a hoard of walking sleepers at UoM very soon. I’ll keep you posted in any case. 😀
Let’s here your comments about DST. If you have written any articles about it, post it in the comments! 🙂
P.s: Orange has some instructions to automatically adjust the time of your computers. See their site: Windows XP and Windows Vista. According to some reports, Linux should automatically adjust if you enable the correct settings. See your distribution’s manual for that.