Hello! My name is Josh Kuha and I am one of the Los Angeles interns for Grades of Green as well as an avid landscape photographer. Last week, I was invited to go flying in Camarillo, CA and I was so excited. I have been wanting to do this for so long and I finally had the opportunity, so I was sure to bring my camera to photograph the view from up in the sky. We made our way up to about 3,500 feet above sea level and the view was just amazing. We could see mountains to the north, the ocean to the west and the south, and our own homes to the east. Below us was the freeway, endless amounts of homes, and beautiful rollings hills. I could see so much from up there and I was having the time of my life, just flying around for fun and with nowhere to go.

This photo is of Lake Casitas and it was incredible to see such a huge lake from up above. Once we began to get closer to Ojai, I could see a far different view down below than that of the surrounding cities. This past December, California experienced the largest wildfire in modern California history- the Thomas Fire. On the flight I saw ash covered hills, charred trees, and a lack of the color green- it was a devastating scene and being up in the plane allowed me to really get an idea as to how badly California was affected by the fire.

As much as I was thinking about the land while up in the plane, I couldn’t help but think about what else was surrounding us- the air. When looking out towards the east, I could see smog and it was not a pretty sight. The Thomas Fire affected air quality too, but every day we do things to affect air quality whether we know it or not. Driving cars, eating meat, choosing next day shipping when shopping online, and so many more daily actions and choices lead to poor air quality. If you want to learn how you can reduce your contribution to air pollution, Grades of Green has plenty of Air Earth Tips as well as Activities that are geared towards students and their parents but can be used in all sorts of different every day scenarios. For example, you can choose to walk or ride your bike instead of driving, or reminding your families to not idle your cars. I personally turn off my car when I don’t need to have it running as well as turn off and unplug electronic devices at home to reduce my use of fossil fuels used to produce electricity. These small actions add up to make a huge difference.

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.