Has the thought of living in a World without winters ever crossed your mind? No more cold and dark nights, no more short days, and Bye bye Winter Blues! But for those of you who live in a country near the Equator, don’t you miss having seasons sometimes? Aren’t humans made to go through some kind of cyclicality?
The main effects of seasonality are changes in light and climate, for those of us not living near the equator. We may not all be seasonal, but some people can be very affected by the change in seasons.
The best evidence of human seasonality is seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. People can suffer from major depressive episodes related to the seasons, generally beginning in fall or winter. This is most likely due to the secretion of melatonin for longer periods during winter nights than during summer nights. Whereas for normal individuals, the production of melatonin, which regulates sleep and is called the hormone of darkness, does not vary with the seasons. This disorder can affect about 10% of the population, and 20% to a lesser form.
Besides, daylight truly matters for humans. We have an internal clock (or “circadian rhythm”) that governs our sleep-wake cycles, among other daily functions. Light provides us with cues that influence our pupil dilation, alertness, melatonin levels, and heart rate modulation among other things. Hence shorter days in winter can disturb our internal clock.
On the other hand, what would happen if there were no winters?
We would have a tropical climate, just like any equatorial country. And if the world were a humid tropical zone like the rain forests in Congo, the constant rainfall would prevent any kind of agriculture, as the soil would be eroded and the land would be infertile for crops. Therefore we wouldn’t be able to feed the World. Besides, we would be plagued by diseases which thrive in warm and humid environments…
If, on the other hand, Earth were as dry like as the Arabian Peninsula, our species would extinct, and our modern society couldn’t be sustained in arid tropics….
As Charles Dickens once said, “Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.”
On an individual scale, I believe that even though we could be well-off without seasons, we all need milestones, such as Christmas or Easter, because it makes us look forward to something nice, cheerful and comforting. Besides, we all like to have the possibility to “reset” our habits and be given a fresh start.