Climate and Environment, Living

When Night Doesn’t Fall

Cathedral in Mexico City

The horario de verano, which kicks-in each year with the first sounds of spring, has never been popular in Mexico, a country with plenty of sunlight all year round.

Opposition to the measure, that was introduced in 1996, was such that in 2000, the government commissioned the National Autonomous University (UNAM) to conduct a study into its effects. The study showed that 69% of the population was against it and that the majority doubted it really saves electricity, but found no evidence that it had any adverse effects on people’s health.

In 2001, the then newly-elected President Vicente Fox, responding to complaints received during his campaign about children having to go to school when it’s still dark, reduced daylight savings time to five months—May through September instead of April through October.

The compromise solution didn’t please too many people. The airline industry said it would cause havoc at Mexican airports—which it didn’t. The Mexico City Mayor took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the executive branch didn’t have the authority to decree the change in the capital. The Supreme Court agreed, and said only the Congress could authorize it—which it did. So since 2002, Daylight Savings Time has been observed in Mexico for seven months each year.

Some people who object to this messing around with the clocks don’t like the idea that Mexico has to change just because the US does, which has a lot to do with making the change in the first place. The state of Sonora, which lies across the border from Arizona, doesn’t have daylight savings time because Arizona doesn’t. And in February 2015, the state of Quintana Roo, home to Mexico’s popular beach resorts, created the country’s fourth time zone and it doesn’t move its clocks each year, either.  However, Mexico City’s stock market does open an hour earlier for several weeks a year so as to remain ‘in sync’ with the NYSE, as US ET and Mexico’s Central Time clock-time changes don’t tend to happen on the same dates.

Daylight Savings Time in Mexico has gained its fans, and there are people who complain come the autumn about changing the clocks back. The extra hour of sleep is, after all, just a joke.

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