Dr. Peter Carter, Paul Beckwith, Regina Valdez, Charles Gregoire and Heidi Brault first started working together at COP25 in Madrid, Spain, in December of 2019.
Let's backtrack a bit. Charles and Heidi first met Paul in September 2018, when a mutual friend and climate activist, Stuart Scott, travelled to Ottawa to give a talk. All three of them helped to organize a presentation for Stuart, then Executive Director of ScientistsWarning.org, and they visited with Paul a few times over the course of a couple of days. In July 2019, Paul suggested that they travel to Santiago, Chile, to join Stuart for COP25. Thus began the initial plans for going to COP25 as part of an NGO delegation. (Note that Chile was officially the host country for COP25).
In September 2019, Regina volunteered to join ScientistsWarning.org to write press releases for the upcoming COP25 event. During their first online meeting with Regina, Charles and Heidi immediately recognized that she could be a potential program co-host. Peter joined the group at around the same time, also offering to be a co-host. Charles offered to help with technical support and organizing, and Heidi played a key role in organizing (badges, communications) and trip planning.
One month prior to COP25, the Chilean government announced that Chile wouldn't be able to host COP25 in Santiago due to civil unrest. The Spanish government offered to host the conference in Madrid and COP25 was officially moved to Madrid. The team then had to regroup, cancel all their plans for Santiago and plan for Madrid. Paul, Heidi and Charles travelled from Ottawa to Madrid together. In Madrid, Regina, Peter, Charles and Heidi all stayed in the same AirBnB during COP, while Paul was hosted by a local activist, Alfonso. Alfonso was of great assistance to the team both at COP and as a local guide. He became a good friend.
Most of the team first worked together in December 2019 during our participation in COP25 in Madrid, Spain, as part of a team of presenters, moderators and technical/organizational support. Prior to travelling to Madrid, Peter and Paul had planned to present several programs at COP in the NGO press conference room. They decided during the first week of COP that having Regina join them as a moderator would enhance their programs and thus make it more interesting for their audiences.
As we look ahead to COP26, we are once again planning that Peter, Paul and Regina will present together, with Regina taking on a more prominent role as both a moderator and presenter. Although there is still some uncertainty regarding whether or not COP26 will be an in-person or a virtual event, we feel that both the team and our audience will benefit from our videos of conversations and presentations prior to COP26 pertaining to the climate crisis, climate systems, loss of biodiversity, and possible solutions.