Thursday, March 11, 2010

As promised, an interview with Senor Tortuga at the BrightSource Ivanpah area

At the site of the proposed BrightSource Ivanpah solar project at an undisclosed location
about 1/2 mile from the west side of the metamorphic hill.

You can view a short video giving details of the ground rules for the interview right here:

Begin interview with Senor Tortuga hereafter referred to as ST:

MB: Thanks for agreeing to speak with me ST.

ST: I saw you walking over dressed for winter chill when it was
turning sunny and a little warmer so I figured you weren't a threat,
although the thought did cross my mind that maybe you were one of
BrightSources' hired biologists looking to tag me with one of those
radio transmitters.

MB: ST as a requirement to interview you, I have turned off my video
and am recording audio only. I am also promising that I won't give out
the precise location of your home burrow as well.

ST: Thanks Bill, you can never be too careful nowadays what with everything
happening around here, why the other day some of those biologists walked
by about 30 feet from here but never saw me!

MB: You seem very concerned about the future of your home and community,
can you elaborate for my readers what's happening as you see it?

ST: Well first you got to understand that we may have been under-counted in 2007
and 2008. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not implying any nefarious motives to
BrightSource and their supporters, it's just that we tortoises are, by nature, shy.
So it is possible that several of us were missed.

MB: That goes into my next question. How do you guys really feel about this?
How about the talk of being relocated to other tortoise habitat?

ST: That talk just overlooks a basic fact of our nature, one that is in our dna and
can't be changed. When we tortoises get moved, we always head back to our homes,
always. And what happens is we have to cross other tortoise's home turf to get back to ours.
And we are not social creatures by nature. When we meet an intruder on our turf we fight!

MB: I've seen some footage of a tortoise fight, it looks like the goal is to flip the other guy
over on his back, is that how it is?

ST: Yes, legs up waving in the air, stick a fork in him, he's done!

MB: Can't you just flip back over?

ST: When you're built like me, it's impossible. And of course what happens is- you either die of thirst
or a coyote or raven or buzzard gets you, it's not a pretty sight.

MB: So...

ST: I'm sorry to butt in. I just want to emphasize when and if I get relocated, being an old-timer,
it's a death sentence for me, I'm too old to go shell to shell with these young guys! If they don't
fall for one of my tricks, I'm gonna be shell down, legs up and kicking pretty quick!

MB: Well since you put it that way I think I've finally gotten the seriousness of your situation.

ST: Look, I don't bother anybody, all I'd like to do is get out of this burrow and not have to
look over my shoulder anymore than normal, it's one thing to keep an eye out for a coyote, it's
another to have to watch out for anybody on two legs that's wearing a hard hat or carrying a
laptop or scientific gear.

MB: Good thing my laptop's hidden in my day pack or I guess you wouldn't be talking to me
right now.

ST: You got it sir!

MB: I know I've taken a lot of your time and I've been standing out here exposed for quite a while
and someone might be watching, so can I just ask one more question for my readers?

ST: Go ahead, one more question.

MB: Any last thoughts you'd like to relay to my readers?

ST: Sure. We tortoises just want to be left alone, okay? If you see us out walking, please don't
pick us up, sometimes it scares some of us so badly we wet ourselves. And when that happens
we're in big trouble out here in the desert. You might have noticed there isn't a drinking fountain
on the corner. Heck, there isn't even a corner out here! And as far as this project goes, my family
and neighbors have lived here for millenia, in human times you can understand, since you started
keeping track of your history, only longer. We just want to be left alone. And we don't
understand why this has to happen here. That's all I have to say to you humans and thanks
for listening.

MB: ST, it has been a real pleasure talking with you, I just wish it didn't have to be under these

ST: Thanks Bill and I truly agree.

End of transcribed interview.