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Debbie Duncan and Cyndi Chin-Lee: Daylight Savings vs Standard Time

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Yet another clock-changing exercise has the Congress – and Debbie Duncan and Cyndi Chin-Lee – debating Daylight Savings vs. Standard Time.

Duncan: Hey Cyndi, did you hear that the Senate passed legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent?

Chin-Lee: Yes! I’m all for it. Finally no more fumbling the day of the change. More light!

Duncan: Well, we’re definitely seeing more light in the evenings now.

Chin-Lee: And as our mutual friend Mark says, he can now ride his bike after a day of teaching. His wife’s long commute home after work is safer.


Duncan: But winter morning commutes could be in the dark—when people are waking up. If we have Daylight Time in January, it’s nearly 8:30 AM in San Francisco at sunrise. We shouldn’t ask kids to ride their bikes to school when it’s pitch-black.

Chin-Lee: You have a good point that it’ll be darker on winter mornings, but I still think we’ll have more daylight when people need it. If we stay on Standard Time, the sun sets in January a bit after 5 here. So it would be hard for folks like Mark to bike after work.

Duncan: I work from home now, but I still need light to wake up. We tried the “ditch Standard Time” experiment in the 70’s. It was so unpopular, it didn’t last a year!

Chin-Lee: What bothers me is having to change clocks twice a year. The clock in my car is never right and it’s hard on the whole family when we change. It’s dangerous.

Duncan: It is! The American Academy of Sleep Medicine agrees that the U.S. should eliminate seasonal time changes. But they say to adopt year-round Standard Time. It’s more in sync with humans’ circadian rhythms.

Chin-Lee:  I’m actually okay with permanent Standard Time. Just stick with something! It will make it easier for the rest of the world, too. We confuse our friends in other countries, and meetings have to be adjusted when the U.S. changes time twice a year.

Duncan: I hadn’t thought of that. I’d be fine with year-round Standard Time. I hope the House will analyze carefully this so-called “Sunshine Protection Act.”

Chin-Lee: Maybe Congress will compromise, as you and I have, and settle on Standard Time.

Duncan: I hope so too! And I loved our debate. I found it refreshing, especially in this increasingly polarized world. With a Perspective, I’m Debbie Duncan.

And I’m Cyndi Chin-Lee.

Debbie Duncan and Cyndi Chin-Lee are longtime members of a Palo Alto children’s books writers group.

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