A Better Way to Tell Time – Solarpunk Chronometry

Our modern methods of timekeeping have changed our relationship with the world around us, giving us more precise measurements for science, but also abstracting us further from the natural world. I think it’s time we looked at how a solarpunk future can incorporate a saner method of chronometry.

A photo of several vintage clocks lined up in rows.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Our neolithic ancestors lived and moved according to the cycle of seasons and the rising and setting of the sun. Before the widespread adoption of the clock, we slept in segments, instead of all the way through the night. With the rise of the train, time zones kept people on track to their destinations. Now, some people have suggested returning to local time based on solar noon and setting any meeting times based on Universal Coordinated Time (UTC). After a year of online meetings that were held in various time zones around the world, I really see the appeal of UTC so I wouldn’t have had to run calculations to figure out when the meetings were in my own time zone. Don’t even get me started on my feelings toward Daylight Savings Time.

An image of Stonehenge. Clouds hang over the monumental stones and the grass is green.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On the calendar front, there have been several attempts at calendar reform to oust the Gregorian Calendar, including the French Revolutionary Calendar, the World Season Calendar, and the International Fixed Calendar (IFC). The IFC has 13 months of 28 days resulting in a weekly layout that is the same each month. This leaves one or two extra days depending on if it’s a leap year that go into Year Day and Leap Day. I really like the IFC, and one of the oft-cited drawbacks, constant Friday the 13ths, is easily remedied by changing the first day of the month to Monday according to ISO standards. Kodak even used the IFC for more than 60 years since George Eastman thought it was so elegant.

My version of the International Fixed Calendar (all months are the same)

What do you think? Would changing the calendar and time zones be more trouble than it’s worth? Let us know below!

6 thoughts on “A Better Way to Tell Time – Solarpunk Chronometry

  1. woodenbreath

    It might not be a focus of solar punk, but I have the feeling that UTC would alienate human life from there night and day cycle – now the time on the clock is in step with how the day evolves. But to me it would feel strange to have sunset at a time that is dependent on when the sun goes up in Greenwich. For international relations that might be good, but for everyday life I doubt it. The months on the other hand are a bit off, that’s right.

    1. Navarre Post author

      Yeah, being in tune with the natural world is important in solarpunk. That’s why I’m onboard with going back to local solar time, but using UTC for things that span several time jurisdictions. IMO, the Industrial Revolution resulted in “flattening” our human experience by deciding there could only be one system for any given thing. There are certainly advantages to this when doing engineering projects (see crashed Mars probes), but we took it too far into every aspect of life.

      Coincidentally, St. Andrew on YouTube just posted a video on “The Tyranny of the Clock” that takes another look at time in a solarpunk context: https://youtu.be/LsoT6do7OBQ

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