Artificial Intelligence

Pinching Water in the Grasslands: Decolonizing Technology

In the spring fog, the bunchgrass reveals its technological secrets.

It catches water from the air, which is pretty beautiful, for sure.

Lots of water, too. If you walk through this stuff, you are soaked. And that’s the first technological secret.

Walk through this stuff. Comb it, with either an absorbent material or just one that breaks the bond of water and grass and redirects it. Planting grass on the edge of a vertical drop ought to do the trick.

What’s more, the technique should be duplicatable. The grass is holding water based upon water tension between a specific, angular gap. In fact, it is holding tension. The water holds itself… and releases itself when the tension bond is broken.

Here’s a closer look of the mechanism. You can see, perhaps, how the missing seed can fill with small amounts of water, which then adheres to itself, with the brackets for the seed, angled back and forth on the stalk, directing its tension into a pool, rather than a flow.


It is the way that a mountain pushes water into a læk, to use the Icelandic word, or a lick (and here you see, perhaps?, the appropriate technology for harvesting the water?), a like or a lake, in English. I would think that a strong university engineering program could approach this technology with verve. Currently, the Canadian university that is perched in this valley is exploring blue water systems more conservatively: One Water.   Oh yes, here’s the hard thing: in a bunchgrass system, managing blue water is part of colonial culture. It is artificial intelligence. No matter how much good it does, it is not the end goal of reconciliation and cultural unification, nor of human culture. The grass is leading us into integrated natural intelligence. We should follow. We should allow ourselves to be held.


I will be following up on this discussion of licks and lækur soon. Until then, love the lake you’re with!

Coots Loving Okanagan Lake

And a gull being, well, gullish.


5 replies »

    • I love it too. I am continually struck by how very different from human intelligence Earth intelligence is, and yet how well we can think in that way.


      Liked by 2 people

      • And I am struck by the strangeness of the fact that we are capable of separating human intelligence from earth intelligence given that we are creatures of earth. And not only that but we are prepared to sacrifice this intelligence to that which we name artificial. We are so lazy! So willing to get something for nothing not realising that the nothing that we nourish in our souls becomes our destiny.
        Your work beautifully expresses the long slow intelligence of the Earth. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • And I am struck by the wisdom of the editors of the Bible, and the writers who preceded them, who set this all out clearly. I am beginning to suspect that they had their eye on an indigenous kind of knowledge. It will be exciting to reclaim that. Sadly, I don’t think Israel is succeeding at that. I wish it was.


        Liked by 1 person

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