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.