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德國人發明了夏令時,現在卻準備取消

Katherine Dunn 2019年04月05日

夏令時煩人嗎?數百萬德國人說,沒錯。

夏令時煩人嗎?數百萬德國人說,沒錯。

這個以時間觀念強而著稱的國家正在推動歐洲議會“終結”夏時制(今年歐洲從3月31日開始采用夏令時)——也就是春季將時鐘撥快一個小時,到了秋季再撥回來的做法。

上周二,歐洲議會投票決定從2021年開始取消夏令時。去年,在歐盟的一項調查中,84%的受訪者表示他們支持全年采用同一時間。此項決議目前有待于各成員國政府批準。

有關夏令時的爭論不僅限于歐洲。上月初,美國總統唐納德·特朗普就在推特上表示他支持取消這項制度。

歐盟委員會主席讓-克洛德·容克是此事的推動者。在去年9月上述調查結果出爐后,容克就表示一定會取消夏時制。容克稱,此項調查證明民眾的意愿是“必須停止調整時間”。

但實際上,這基本上只是德國人的意思。

該次調查涉及460萬人,其中300萬是德國人(德國約占歐盟總人口的六分之一)。

但德國人應當在“干掉”夏令時方面發揮主導作用,夏令時的德語是“sommerzeit”,意思就是“夏天的時間”。畢竟,是他們在1916年春天發明了這種做法。

戰時歷史

夏令時的“發明”經常引發爭議。有人將其歸功于本杰明·富蘭克林,因為他曾經開玩笑地說這是對付愛睡覺的巴黎人的一項戰略。還有人說夏令時的發明者是一位新西蘭昆蟲學家,因為他希望有更多的業余時間來收集昆蟲。我們不都想要更多的業余時間嗎?

但夏令時首次大規模實施是在第一次世界大戰期間。當時德國政府下令將時鐘向后撥一小時,目的是在傍晚多利用一小時日光,從而省下煤炭去打仗。和德國一樣急需節省能源的同盟國和協約國都開始這樣做,但戰爭結束后,這些國家很快就放棄了此項制度。

二戰期間,阿道夫·希特勒重啟了這樣的做法,目的也是節省能源。二戰結束后,東德和西德不同程度地施行了這項制度。1945年柏林被占領期間甚至一度將時鐘撥快兩個小時,以便和莫斯科時間保持一致。

夏令時的優與劣

從那時起,德國乃至全世界都在夏令時問題上反反復復,這項制度受寵往往是在危機或能源短缺期間,包括20世紀70年代的石油禁運。德國到2002年才在全國統一實行夏令時。

因此,這種做法自然會在節能方面引起爭議,因為如今其效果并無說服力。有人指出,從春天開始省下來的那一小時能源或經濟收益會在秋天時鐘撥回后被抵消。但也有人支持夏令時,他們說這樣做延長了冬季的白天時間,從而讓黑暗的冬季夜晚變得更容易度過。

此外,反對者的理由還包括睡眠時間略有縮短引發的風險——有人說剛進入夏令時的那幾天發生交通事故的可能性會上升,生產率和健康水平則會下降,而且人們會普遍煩躁不安。還有許多人說這么做很麻煩。

來自于德國基民盟的歐洲議員彼得·利澤主張取消夏令時,他在個人網站上發表聲明稱:“如果我們從未調整過時間,而現在有人想采用夏時制,那別人就會覺得他瘋了。”

其他政壇人士也持這種態度——容克在去年9月呼吁取消夏令時后,德國議員克里斯蒂安·林德納在推特上表示支持。

他寫道:“夏時制很煩人。”

‘更胖、更笨、更暴躁’?

可以說,這個問題在德國一直存在爭議。

去年秋天的夏令時論戰中,德國《時代周報》引述慕尼黑大學時間生物學家(沒錯,他們研究的就是時間的生物性特征和生物鐘)蒂爾·倫內伯格的警告稱,取消夏令時可能給德國人帶來災難,因為這樣會讓他們無法在夜間得到適當的休息,原因是夜間休息源于人們對季節性光照變化的追蹤。

《DST all year around》是篇好文章。這是在德國,但也還是這樣。我已經和平常一樣收到那些憤怒的郵件了。有人愛夏令時,也有人恨它,這跟事實無關。敵人和各個“派系”總有讓我意想不到的地方。#Cloxit

— 蒂爾·倫內伯格(@TillRoen),2018年9月12日

倫內伯格說:“這會提高患糖尿病、抑郁以及出現睡眠和學習問題的可能性。也就是說,我們歐洲人會變得更胖、更笨、而且更暴躁。”

《時代周刊》發表了他的文章后,倫內伯格在推特上說他“像平常一樣”收到了那些憤怒的郵件,他還給這篇推文添上了個性化標簽:#cloxit。

節省時間?并非那么有效

在德國國家計量機構——聯邦物理技術研究院(Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt),簡稱為PTB,這項制度不太可能成為很大的技術障礙。PTB負責發布德國所謂的“法定時間”,包括夏令時開始和結束那兩天。

PTB授時負責人安德烈亞斯·鮑施博士表示:“我們的政府又問了同樣的問題,取消夏時制不是可以讓我們省去很多工作嗎?這省不了什么,15分鐘吧。”

就個人而言,相關收益就更不明顯了。從女兒那里得知消息后,鮑施也參加了歐盟的那次調查。他說,自己寧愿原封不動地保留夏令時,因為取消它就意味著冬季的黑夜將失去一小時的光亮。

對于夏令時在德國普遍不受待見的問題,鮑施拋出了一條言簡意賅的理論。

他說,對許多人而言,“抱怨就是生活極為重要的組成部分之一”。

與此同時,在英國,夏令時的德國“出身”基本沒有引起關注,取而代之的是一個更明顯的目標,那就是整個歐盟。

保守黨議員約翰·弗拉克表示:“長期以來我們一直都知道歐盟想過度控制我們的生活。現在我們要自行掌握時間。”(財富中文網)

譯者:Charlie

審校:夏林

Is Daylight Saving Time annoying? Millions of Germans say, ja.

The notoriously time-conscious nation is behind a new initiative from the European Parliament to end the practice of pushing clocks forward by one hour in the spring (which will occur this Sunday in Europe), and back by one hour in the fall.

On last Tuesday, the Parliament voted in favor of stopping the practice by 2021, following a poll last year from the EU in which 84% of the respondents voted in favor of reverting to one time year-round. The law must now be passed by national governments.

The debate isn’t just limited to Europe. Earlier last month, U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed ending the changing of the clocks in a tweet.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is a force behind the movement, having vowed to back the end of Daylight Saving Time in September last year, after the results of the poll were released. The survey proved it was the will of the people, he declared; “Clock-changing must stop.”

But in reality, it was mostly just the will of the Germans.

Out of 4.6 million responders to the poll, 3 million were German. (The country accounts for about one-sixth of the EU’s total population.)

But it is fitting that Germany should have a starring role in the death of Daylight Saving Time (DST), or as it’s known in Germany, sommerzeit (literally, ‘summer time’.) After all, it gave birth to the practice in the spring of 1916.

A wartime history

The “invention” of DST is often debated. Some attribute it to Benjamin Franklin, after he jokingly suggested it as a strategy for tackling Parisians’ love of sleeping in. Others say the creator was a entomologist from New Zealand who wanted more after-work hours for insect collecting. Don’t we all.

But DST was first widely practiced in the midst of World War I, when the German government ordered pushing the clock back by an hour to gain an extra hour of evening daylight and, in turn, save on coal that was used to keep the war running. The practice was adopted by both allies and adversaries of Germany that were just as desperate to save energy, but it was quickly dropped after the war’s end.

During World War II, Adolf Hitler reintroduced the practice, again to save energy. After the war, the practice was unevenly adopted across a divided Germany, with occupied Berlin even briefly jumping ahead by two hours in 1945, to track the time in Moscow.

DST’s pros and cons

Since then, Daylight Saving Time has gone in and out of style in Germany and the rest of the world, usually finding favor in times of crisis or energy shortages, including after the 1970s oil embargo. It was only adopted in its current, country-wide form in Germany in 2002.

The natural argument for Daylight Saving Time as a result been energy savings, but the benefits are now inconclusive, with some arguing the energy or economic gains of an extra hour in the spring are cancelled out by the removal of that hour in the fall. Some make the case that DST in the fall extends daylight in the winter, making dark winter evenings more bearable.

The arguments against, meanwhile, include the risks of a slightly sleep-deprived population: some claim the days after a time change bring a potential rise in car accidents, a decline in productivity and health, and just general crankiness. Also, many argue, it’s a hassle.

“If we didn’t have the time change, and today someone would come up with the idea of introducing it, everybody would think that person was crazy,” said Peter Liese, a Member of the European Parliament from Germany’s Christian Democratic Union who pushed for the abolishment of DST, in a statement on his website.

Other politicians shared the sentiment: after Juncker advocated eliminating the time change in September, German MP Christian Lindner tweeted his approval.

“It was annoying,” he wrote.

‘Fatter, stupider and grumpier’?

Even still, the issue hasn’t been without controversy in Germany.

In the fall, as the rule was being debated, Till Roenneberg, a University of Munich chronobiologist (yes, that’s someone who studies the biology of time and biological clocks), was quoted in the Zeit newspaper warning that the shift away from sommerzeit could be disastrous for Germans, preventing them from getting the proper night’s rest that comes from tracking seasonal shifts in light.

Good Article re ‘DST all year around’. It’s in German, but still. Already getting the usual hate mails. That DST (=Sommerzeit = summer time) is such a fact-free zone with love and hate, enemies and factions always surprises me. #Cloxit

— Till Roenneberg (@TillRoen) September 12, 2018

“It increases the likelihood of diabetes, depression, sleep and learning problems,” he said. “This means we Europeans will become fatter, stupider and grumpier.”

After the Zeit article was published, Roenneberg noted on Twitter that he was getting “the usual” hate mail, and added a custom hashtag: #cloxit.

A time saver? Not so much

At Germany’s national metrology institute, known as the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, or PTB, the law is unlikely to cause much technical hassle. The institute is responsible for distributing the country’s so-called “legal time”—including on the two days a year when the clocks change.

“We got the same questions from our ministry: Doesn’t [eliminating DST] save us a lot of work?” said Dr. Andreas Bausch, head of Dissemination of Time at the institute. “This saves nothing. Fifteen minutes.”

From a personal perspective, the gains are even less clear. Bausch himself responded to the EU’s poll, after his daughter told him about it. He would prefer to keep the system exactly as it is, he said, noting that the loss of DST would mean one less hour of sunlight during the dark winter evenings.

As for the unpopularity of sommerzeit in Germany, he proposed a concise theory.

For many people, he said, “complaining is an extremely important part of life.”

In the U.K., meanwhile, Daylight Saving Time’s German origins have largely gone unnoticed in favor of an even more obvious opponent: the EU as a whole.

“We’ve long been aware the EU wants too much control over our lives,” John Flack, a Conservative MP said in the Guardian after the vote was passed. “Now they want to control time itself.”

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