Friday June 5th is World Environment Day and this year the theme is the ‘Celebrate Biodiversity’, encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the Environment.

Biodiversity describes the variety of life on Earth. It encompasses the 8 million species on the planet–from plants and animals to fungi and bacteria; the ecosystems that house them; and the genetic diversity among them.

Biodiversity may be seen as an intricate web, in which each part is interdependent.  When one component is changed–or removed–the entire system is affected, and this can produce positive–or negative–consequences.  

In thinking about this theme and its relevance for our world today, I realised that Biodiversity has a much broader meaning and importance in today’s world with current events and challenges.  The importance of Diversity is not only critical to the environment but to our economic and social development. Bio is typically aligned with the environment and living organisms but this can be broadened to include Human and Economic organisms like commercial businesses which also thrive and grow through financial and human investment, competitive resilience and innovation as their energy for life. Human organisms also thrive with care, protection, enablement and opportunity. Taken in the context of working in the Information Technology Industry, another layer of application can be included.

There are 3 main threads that occurred to me while writing this blog, as a mixed race woman in the IT industry, in a world in turmoil both from an environmental and social justice perspective.

  1. Importance of Human Diversity for Economic Growth : A Diverse Workforce Is Integral to a Strong Economy. … A diverse workforce combines workers from different backgrounds and experiences that together breed a more creative, innovative, and productive workforce. And businesses have learned that they can draw upon their nation’s diversity to strengthen their bottom line.


A diverse workforce drives economic growth. A nation’s human capital substantially grows as more women, racial and ethnic minorities, and gay and transgender individuals enter the workforce. A McKinsey & Company study, for example, found that the increase in women’s overall share of labour in the United States—women went from holding 37 percent of all jobs to 47 percent over the past 40 years—has accounted for about a quarter of current GDP.

  1. Importance of diversity in Technology to differentiate businesses and drive Innovation: 

Technology enables Innovation which creates more effective processes, products, and ideas. … It can also increase the likelihood of businesses succeeding and can create more efficient processes that can result in better productivity and performance.

As information technology advances and becomes increasingly essential in the business world, new challenges have emerged — IT Business Alignment. The catapulted challenge affects businesses all over the world. Companies face an increasing need to respond quickly and competently whilst being agile with management. It is apparent to say, IT shouldn’t be subservient and there has never been a timelier opportunity to explore the possibilities of empowering business through technology.

Diversity in the application of Technology can differentiate business, help it to grow and thrive and ensure resilience in a competitive environment. Align this to the importance of diversity and celebration of Bio Diversity in World Environment Day and a common thread emerges.

Working in an organization focused on technology innovation and its ability to impact customers to ensure growth through diversity in their industries and to directly enable better services and support to the population in public sector organizations, is a daily celebration of economic biodiversity of which I am grateful.

 

  1. Energy. The third and most directly evident impact on Bio Diversity and the Environment of Technology is the energy used during its usage and the method of its disposal. Most electronic waste is sent to landfills or incinerated, which releases materials such as lead, mercury, or cadmium into the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere, thus having a negative impact on the environment. Many materials used in computer hardware can be recovered by recycling for use in future production.Environmental Impact. Every year, approximately 40 million metric tons of electronic waste (aka “e-waste”) consisting of discarded televisions, phones, computers, and other electronic hardware are produced globally. … Combustion of e-waste generates a harmful amount of pollution that contaminates the air and the bio-diversity in the environment.

When one component is changed–or removed–the entire system is affected, and this can produce positive–or negative–consequences. This definition of Bio-Diversity is one that resonates with me as we look to find balance, equality, representation and growth in our environment, our economy, our human capital and our social engagement.

There are the enablers and disrupters that are offered by technology through business innovation, social media, and research in biodiversity – for example – New technologies enable scientists to estimate the number of unique species in an area by placing a acoustic detector in areas of conservation interest. This is obviously limited to species that produce auditory sounds, but it can be used as an index of the biodiversity of a region.

The key is accepting and celebrating the importance and diversity of the role of each element of our environment – organism, human, economic, social, political to increase the positive impact and minimize the negative consequence. June 5th, World Environment Day is about increasing this awareness and most importantly encouraging action to protect it.

Sophia Byrne, Global Services Sales Manager, Asystec