Peter K. Haff

Professor Emeritus

The neoenvironment is the total environment in which we live. It is the sum of the natural, human, and technological systems and processes that surround us. It includes for example forest ecosystems, animals and machines, nanotechnology, the internet, highways, medical systems, power grids, human populations, political parties, governments and bureaucracies, robots and religions and their interactions with each other. In an age in which both the level and acceleration of technology are high, understanding and living with our "environment" can only mean understanding and living with the neoenvironment. Technology cannot be factored out of the neoenvironment leaving only natural processes. The neoenvironment must be understood as a whole. There are many consequences for the future of human-well being that flow from the emergence of the neoenvironment and my research examines some of them.


Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor Emeritus
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Contact Information

  • Office Location: LSRC, 9 Circuit Drive, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-5902
  • Email Address:


  • B.A. Harvard University , 1966
  • Ph.D. University of Virginia, 1970

Courses Taught

  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project
  • EOS 393: Research Independent Study

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Zalasiewicz, J., C. N. Waters, C. P. Summerhayes, A. P. Wolfe, A. D. Barnosky, A. Cearreta, P. Crutzen, et al. “The Working Group on the Anthropocene: Summary of evidence and interim recommendations.” Anthropocene 19 (September 1, 2017): 55–60.
  • Haff, P. K. “Being human in the Anthropocene.” Anthropocene Review 4, no. 2 (August 1, 2017): 103–9.
  • Zalasiewicz, J., M. Williams, C. N. Waters, A. D. Barnosky, J. Palmesino, A. S. Rönnskog, M. Edgeworth, et al. “Scale and diversity of the physical technosphere: A geological perspective.” Anthropocene Review 4, no. 1 (April 1, 2017): 9–22.
  • Zalasiewicz, J., C. N. Waters, A. P. Wolfe, A. D. Barnosky, A. Cearreta, M. Edgeworth, E. C. Ellis, et al. “Making the case for a formal Anthropocene Epoch: An analysis of ongoing critiques.” Newsletters on Stratigraphy 50, no. 2 (January 1, 2017): 205–26.
  • Haff, P. K. “Purpose in the Anthropocene: Dynamical role and physical basis.” Anthropocene 16 (December 1, 2016): 54–60.