The Tennessee Valley Authority goes Japan: A river’s way into the Anthropocene

December 10th, 2019

Damming as a means to achieve economic prosperity. A comparison with similar interventions around the world.

Damming is one of the most visible and consequential human interventions affecting rivers and is seen as an indicator of the Anthropocene. Using dams as a central tool in its practice of systematized river management, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) heavily promoted this form of engineering as a means to achieve economic prosperity in the 1930s and 1940s, providing a blueprint for similar interventions around the world. Mariko Jacoby looks at how Japan became an early adopter of TVA-style river engineering and dam construction.