Have you ever seen a time zone map? Its a rectangular projection of our globe, like most maps, where small distances at the poles are stretched for thousands of miles and large distances at the equator look tiny by comparison. But my preference for globes is not the focus of this article.
The time zone map has twenty-eight vertical lines showing the time from “Universal Time minus fourteen” to “Universal Time plus twelve”. And somewhere in between is the International Date Line.
Universal Time is the same as the old Greenwich Mean Time in the Winter, but Greenwich (the United Kingdom) jumps ahead by an hour in the Summer for “Daylight Savings Time”, as do many other, but not all time zones. Other time zones that jump forward and fall back with the seasons do not always do it on the same week of the year, and many areas closer to the tropics do not change their clocks at all.
Add to this the odd thirty minute time zones and forty-five minute time zones that are observed in some countries, and the H zone, or UT+8, which the whole of China follows despite the vast distance from West to East, and some places in the Pacific that have UT minus fourteen so they can match their date with other related islands, and we have a world with a giant mess of silly time zones.
We civilized humans are an adaptable bunch of animals. Each year most of us adapt twice, when we move the clocks forward in Spring and back in the Autumn. And we twirl our watch crowns whenever we take a long flight across lines of longitude. Nothing bad happens when we change our clocks and watches.
So why don’t we consider one major change, once and for all and stay with it? Why don’t we do what airline pilots already do? Why don’t we adopt Universal Time for every place on the planet, and stop changing it with the season, or the longitude?
Yes it may be strange at first to wake up at 15:00 instead of 7 AM in Los Angeles, or go to bed at 04:00 instead of at 11PM in Boston. And it may be strange at first to have one daylight work day spanning two calendar dates. But there are many advantages for the time and date to be the same everywhere on earth.
It would really help The Republic of Kiribati, which currently has to bend the imaginary International Date Line like giant snake in order to have the entire nation of islands on the same date. and it would really help large wide countries such as China, Russia, Canada, Australia and the United States.
It would make daylight and actual days as perceived from where we are in the world more important than the numbers on a clock. We would be farmers, harvesting the light of the day. We would still rise somewhere near dawn and retire sometime after sunset, and we would still sleep in the dark, but the clocks around the world would all be the same.
The British would still be the lucky ones to have the sun at its zenith at noon on the clock, as they are today in the winter months only, but the rest of us would quickly get used to living by the sun and having an international standard for time in the new modern globalized society that we do business in.
What do you think? Please leave comments with your agreement with, or opposition to this proposal.