Hello! My name is Josh Kuha and I am one of the Los Angeles interns for Grades of Green as well as an avid hiker and landscape photographer. I chose to go on a hike on a foggy and cloudy Saturday morning since I had a photo idea in mind that required these weather conditions. I drove to the trailhead, parked my car, and I began to make my way up the trail and towards a location I had not visited in years. In the first ten minutes of the walk, I noticed that the paths were a bit more developed than before. I also noticed that a native plant restoration project was underway and I was very happy to see that this was being done, even in such a secluded and relatively unknown location. I continued to hike up the trail and I made it to the point that can be seen in this photo. The fog and clouds had started to burn off and my photo idea could no longer come to life, but I still managed to get a great shot out of what I had to work with. The vast openness, the rolling hills, the deep blues and golden browns–it came together for a beautiful photo, but the view behind the camera is a far different view than the one in front of it.

This photo was taken in the mountains west of Porter Ranch, CA and north of Chatsworth, CA. When I turned around, I could see the gated communities of Porter Ranch and all of the property development that is currently going on. I understand that people need places to live and Porter Ranch is a wonderful place to live—I would know, I live in Porter Ranch—but for a moment I was thrown off by the homes and development after getting lost in the beauty and peace of what was in front of me as I posed for this photo. Given that I have done this hike before, I knew what was behind me, but in the moment all I could focus on was what was this beautiful hike I was on and the feeling of peace I had being the only person on this trail. All I cared about was the scene in front of me—the slight breeze blowing the brush around, the two hawks circling the two crows in the sky, the sound of the birds and crickets on the ground, the serenity of it all. This moment made me completely forget about what I knew was behind me. With the loss of nature due to property development around the world, I believe it is important for everyone to get out and make an experience like mine wherever in nature you can!

Grades of Green is a strong supporter of Earth Hour, a global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that will take place on March 24th at 8:30PM, your local time. The idea of Earth hour is to turn off all non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour in order to raise awareness about taking action against climate change. In this hour, join me in spending time outside by going somewhere dark and taking a look at the night sky. I support Earth Hour and will be participating this March, but I believe we do not have to wait for March in order to get out and appreciate nature. With whatever free time you may have, spend some time outside and find that peace and serenity that I was able to find. These places in nature are around us all, we just need to get out there and find them. Go explore, go on an adventure, make some memories, and create an experience—I promise you, you will enjoy it.