No big intro here… I’m going to jump right in… I find myself wondering if the concept of time zones has run its course and the world wouldn’t be better served by using one universal time.
As I ponder this I can see many reasons to having the same time everywhere, and very few (non-babysitting, or habitual) reasons for having time zones. Sure, there is some familiarity (and associated comfort) with the idea of having the sun high over head around “noon,” but, does that really add any practical value to our lives?
In 1884, when time zones (as we currently know them) were first implemented the world was a very different place. In a word, it was huge. Traveling distances that would require crossing time zones (especially multiple time zones in a short period of time) was rare; and since the telephone was essentially still being invented (AT&T was created the year after our existing time zone system was implemented, and the first coast to coast long distance call was not completed for another 31 years) rapid communications across time zones was not common either.
127 years later, things are a bit different.
People jump from time zone to time zone daily, even hourly. When I travel to the East Coast I have to reset all of my time pieces (admittedly, many of them change themselves) and the reset them when I return. If I land in Chicago on the way I need to figure out not only what time it is there, but how that relates to both where I came from and where I am going. In New York (or wherever I might be going back East) I need to re-calibrate again.
We telephone people across the country and the world from devices we carry around in our pockets or on our belts. When someone in Atlanta wants to set up a teleconference with me, the first question is “what time” and the second question is always “my time or yours.” Frequently that second question is forgotten, and more often than I’d like to admit, meetings have been missed because of a misunderstanding (read: lack of communication) based on who’s time the meeting was supposed to occur.
The largest casualty of this change, in my opinion would be New Years Eve… whoever gets “midnight” at 11am is gonna kinda be bummed, and I get that. However, I’m not sure I dislike that more than I like watching a ball drop in New York that actually happened two hours ago… I’m not really that into living the lie, ya know?
One global time zone would mean that when my cousins in Denmark said “call me at 3pm” we’d both know exactly when that call was going to happen… without wondering who owned the 3pm in question.
One global time zone would mean that my flight itin wouldn’t imply it takes 15 minutes to fly from Boise to San Francisco, and 2 hours and 15 minutes to fly back.
One global time zone would mean that when I traveled, all of my time pieces would always have the right time… even if there was no network to connect to for some reason.
One global time zone would mean that it was the same day everywhere on earth.
I am of the mind that time zones are an antiquated idea who’s time has come… and gone. My fiancee disagrees with me on this one… how about you?