You can tell OccupyMN is serious about staying around through the winter months. Tonight they brought in arctic explorer Ann Bancroft to teach a winter survival course at The People’s Plaza (also known as the Hennepin County Government Center). Bancroft is the only woman to sky to both the North and the South Poles.
Her first pole trek was in 1986 with Will Steeger. Since then she’s been to the North Pole on skis and has skied three times to the South Pole. The first woman to ski across Greenland is also on her list of accomplishments. She’ll be leading another all female expedition of women from six continents to the South Pole during the 2012 Antarctic Summer, about a year from now.
“I get a little tired of people talking about the ‘focus of the message’ like we’re all marketers or something,” said Bancroft. “People are just ticked off. So isn’t that a good enough message? She told the people attending that, “I hate being cold.” In addition to the usual advice about layering, she emphasized the need for protection from the ground or concrete, tarp underneath plus a pad.
Shelter is very important and she suggested sleeping under the overhanging benches on the large plaza structures. “I have been known to peel back a stick of butter and eat it like a Snickers bar,” she admitted as she discussed food needs in cold weather.
The biggest problem for the occupiers will be staying dry as snow and slush accumulate. OccupyMN may not get a real chance to put Bancroft’s advice into practice. On Friday Hennepin County Commissioners adopted new policies that will make it more difficult for the OccupyMN to remain in the plaza round the clock. A rally is planned at 5pm Monday and people are being asked to bring sleeping bags and stay the night which would be in defiance of the new policy.