Alex de Sherbinin, Author at State of the Planet

Alex de Sherbinin is associate director for science applications at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). A geographer whose research interests focus on the human aspects of environmental change at local, national, and global scales, he is deputy manager of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) operated by CIESIN, chair of the CODATA Global Roads Data Development Working Group, and a coordinator of the Population-Environment Research Network, a network of more than 1,800 social and natural scientists around the world. Prior to joining CIESIN he served as a Program Officer with the Social Policy Program of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland, and a population geographer at the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), Washington, DC. He was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania, West Africa.

Recent Posts

Remains of former dwelling on top of the mountain.

Exploring Ecological Migration in Gansu Province, China

What the West sees as the Chinese government’s top-down decision making around ecological migration is actually a more complex process.

by |August 17, 2018
shipping containers green imports index

How Green Are Your Imports? This Index Provides an Answer

Many “green” countries depend on imports from more polluting countries. A new index takes this into account and could shake up rankings on global environmental report cards.

by |February 7, 2018

State of the Map 2015 in NYC

OpenStreetMap has had impressive growth in coverage and detail in the decade since its launch, and is increasingly being seen as an authoritative data source, much as Wikipedia has rivaled traditional encyclopedias for content and currency.

by |June 11, 2015

Science Journalists and the Data Revolution

Journalist Cheryl Philips described using publicly accessible records of infrastructure assessments done by the Department of Transportation in Washington State to map the most vulnerable bridges and to tell the story behind a bridge that collapsed, killing several people. John Bohannon of Science Magazine used iPython coding to send a fake journal article to close to 200 open access journals in a sting operation to uncover the lack of peer review of a clearly flawed article.

by |March 24, 2015
display at Three Gorges Dam Museum in Chongqing

Mekong Delta and Three Gorges Dam: World’s First Climate Change Resettlements?

Many resettlers are economically better off, but the dislocations remain significant, especially for older resettlers, who have a harder time getting work in the newly developed industrial sector. Although the plight of some resettlers has been quite difficult (one older man competed fiercely to serve as a porter for us for the royal sum of $6), and there are stories of suicide in some resettler communities, it is hard to separate the problems they face from the larger dislocations that are so prevalent in 21st century China.

by |March 6, 2014
Image of report cover

China’s Long March Towards Better Environmental Conditions

The first independent analysis of China environmental data at the sub-national level by an international team aims to help guide the development of policies addressing environmental challenges created by China’s rapid growth.

by |January 6, 2012
Map showing migration in dry ecosystems

Migration in the Face of Global Environmental Change

Over the past 40 years, coastal and inland water ecosystems experienced the greatest levels of net in-migration, vs. mountain, forest, cultivated, and dryland ecosystems, which experienced the greatest levels of net out-migration, says a new report.

by |October 24, 2011
global map of the world with points showing urban extent

Major Spatial Data Collection Released

Urbanization poses both challenges and opportunities for sustainable development and environmental management. Improved data on patterns of human settlement and trends in population can help researchers and policy makers better understand differences between urban and rural areas in terms of their impacts on the environment and vulnerability to environmental variability and change. The newly released… read more

by |October 3, 2011

The Pitfalls of ‘Saving’ the Rainforest

For years, activists have sought to “save the rainforest.” Now, it looks like there could be a mechanism to do just that. It was announced yesterday that negotiators have reached a nearly final agreement on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, or REDD, in which polluters in the north will pay rainforest countries to keep from cutting forests. Many forest-rich countries would like to benefit from […]

by |December 16, 2009