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Climate experts worry about water supplies in Colorado River; a conversation with ‘Life on the Grocery Line’ author Adam Kaat

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Warmer days are here, and the snow that supplies most of the water to the Colorado River is melting. Certainly, our drought-stricken region needs all the water it can get. With just a few weeks left in spring, KUNC’s Alex Hager tells us what we can expect for water this summer in the Colorado River basin.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a lot of uncomfortable truths about ourselves and our society. One of those things was just how undervalued many essential workers are, especially those in lower-paid service-industry jobs. According to an analysis from the Bell Policy Center, around 20% of Colorado’s workforce are considered essential workers — in fields ranging from healthcare to transportation to stocking the shelves of grocery stores.

Whether they considered themselves "essential" or not — there was no option for remote work in their fields. Many have said they felt unsafe working through the pandemic, and have said companies didn't do enough to protect frontline workers — from the virus itself, or from angry customers who were unhappy with mask requirements or stores running out of particular items. Some of that experience is behind a recent wave of unionization votes across the country, including at several Starbucks locations here in Colorado.

Denver-based writer Adam Kaat had a unique vantage point to understand just what that was like. He happened to be working in a busy grocery store right as the pandemic hit. He then chronicled that experience in the form of a novel, Life on the Grocery Line: A Frontline Experience in a Global Pandemic. He spoke with Colorado Edition in March about the book, and what life is really like for essential frontline workers.

Colorado Edition is hosted and produced by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1). Web was edited by digital operations manager Ashley Jefcoat.

The mission of Colorado Edition is to deepen understanding of life in Northern Colorado through authentic conversation and storytelling. It's available as a podcast on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music in the show by Blue Dot Sessions.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.