Peter K. Haff

Peter K. Haff

Professor Emeritus of the Anthropocene

Primary Appointment

Earth & Ocean Sciences Division

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.


In The News


Zalasiewicz, J, Waters, CN, Summerhayes, CP, Wolfe, AP, Barnosky, AD, Cearreta, A, Crutzen, P, Ellis, E, Fairchild, IJ, Gałuszka, A, Haff, P, Hajdas, I, Head, MJ, Ivar do Sul, JA, Jeandel, C, Leinfelder, R, McNeill, JR, Neal, C, Odada, E, Oreskes, N, Steffen, W, Syvitski, J, Vidas, D, Wagreich, M, and Williams, M. "The Working Group on the Anthropocene: Summary of evidence and interim recommendations." Anthropocene 19 (September 2017): 55-60.

Haff, P. "Being human in the Anthropocene." The Anthropocene Review 4, no. 2 (August 2017): 103-109.

Zalasiewicz, J, Waters, C, Wolfe, A, Barnosky, A, Cearreta, A, Edgeworth, M, Ellis, E, Fairchild, I, Gradstein, F, Grinevald, J, Haff, P, Head, M, Ivar do Sul, J, Jeandel, C, Leinfelder, R, McNeill, J, Oreskes, N, Poirier, C, Revkin, A, Richter, DD, Steffen, W, Summerhayes, C, Syvitski, J, Vidas, D, Wagreich, M, Wing, S, and Williams, M. "Making the case for a formal Anthropocene Epoch: an analysis of ongoing critiques." Newsletters on Stratigraphy 50, no. 2 (April 1, 2017): 205-226.

Zalasiewicz, J, Williams, M, Waters, CN, Barnosky, AD, Palmesino, J, Rönnskog, A-S, Edgeworth, M, Neal, C, Cearreta, A, Ellis, EC, Grinevald, J, Haff, P, Ivar do Sul, JA, Jeandel, C, Leinfelder, R, McNeill, JR, Odada, E, Oreskes, N, Price, SJ, Revkin, A, Steffen, W, Summerhayes, C, Vidas, D, Wing, S, and Wolfe, AP. "Scale and diversity of the physical technosphere: A geological perspective." The Anthropocene Review 4, no. 1 (April 2017): 9-22.

Haff, P. "Purpose in the Anthropocene: Dynamical role and physical basis." Anthropocene 16 (December 2016): 54-60.


ENVIRON 899: Master's Project (ENVIRON 899: Master's Project)
EOS 791: Independent Study (EOS 791: Independent Study)
EOS 393: Research Independent Study (EOS 393: Research Independent Study)

area(s) of expertise

Earth Surface Processes Geomorphology

Contact Information

Box 90230
Durham, NC 27708-0230
Grainger Hall, 9 Circuit Drive
Durham, NC 27708


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