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Meet Katie Fletcher, Denver Water sustainability expert

Living sustainably can be confusing, so we asked an expert how she does it.

Editor's note: Sustainability is at the heart of everything Denver Water does. The utility has promoted and adopted sustainable practices over the more than 100 years it has served Denver, implementing a formal Sustainability Plan in 2018 and the updated plan that runs from 2021 to 2025. 

For many, “living sustainably” can feel overwhelming. Where does one start? What’s the “best” way to do it? And how important are individual actions? 

For answers, we turned to Denver Water’s sustainability experts, who spend every day working to make the utility’s operations more sustainable for the 1.5 million people across the Denver-metro area it delivers clean, safe drinking water to every day. 

Meet Katie Fletcher, a sustainability program assistant at Denver Water. 

Katie Fletcher making syrup
Katie Fletcher, a Denver Water sustainability expert, making plum syrup — from scratch — at home. Photo credit: Katie Fletcher.

What are three sustainable actions you’ve taken in your life?

  • I’ve tried hard to limit the plastics and single use items I use in my everyday life, from reusable sandwich baggies, to travel mugs, to using refillable cleaning products. 
  • I limit the amount of meat products I eat in a week. While I am by no means a vegetarian or vegan, this was a simple change that does help reduce my own personal carbon footprint. 
  • I try to combine my car trips when I run errands to reduce the amount of driving I do during the week. With Denver Water’s hybrid work schedule, I try to run errands on my way home from work whenever possible since I’m already out. And I try to take public transportation when possible, like going downtown for sporting events and things like that. 

Learn more about Denver Water’s environmental planning and stewardship efforts

Living a “sustainable lifestyle” seems big, how do I start? 

  • Start with something that feels really attainable to you, because that is going to be the easiest way to start making habits. An easy one is starting to make swaps for single-use items you use all the time. Do you get a to-go coffee every day? Try bringing your own mug twice a week to start, then move on from there. 

Get tips from a Denver Water energy management expert on living "sustainably."

 I’m just one person, can I really make a difference? 

  • Sustainability needs a lot of people doing it imperfectly, rather than a few people doing it 100% perfectly. 
  • Additionally, pushing for change from large organizations and corporations that contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions is going to be extremely important in curbing climate change.
Two friends hiking
Katie Fletcher and friend hiking. Photo credit: Katie Fletcher.

What was the easiest or hardest thing for you to do for sustainability?

  • Finding a way to compost and recycle while living in an apartment that doesn’t provide those services has been especially challenging for me! 

At Denver Water, sustainability touches many things, read more about these efforts.

What else should I know or think about? 

  • Living sustainably is often a huge privilege. I think it is really important to acknowledge that a lot of people don’t have the means to shop organic, buy an electric vehicle, etc. But they still need to be a part of the conversation. Environmentalism and sustainability need to be intersectional.