by Peggy Cheng
Article originally appeared in the Irvine Standard
From the moment I step onto Hicks Canyon Trail just before dawn every morning to the time I drive along the eucalyptus- and jacaranda-lined Irvine Boulevard in the evening, trees are one of the many reasons I love living in Irvine.
At 6 a.m., while my family sleeps, I slip away to jog around North Irvine and watch the sunrise above the trees. Without fail, I return home to sleepy-eyed kids with a positivity and patience that comes only with this daily ritual of being out in nature.
I stumbled upon these trails when I moved here 17 years ago and feel so fortunate to benefit from Irvine’s extraordinary commitment to plant and maintain its more than 550,000 trees, according to the city’s statistics.
Even after breakfast, these trees continue to breathe life into my family’s day. Walking to and from school, rows of eucalyptus trees both lead the way and protect us, providing shade for parents and perfect hiding spots for the kids as they play along the path.
My neighborhood is not unique. Trees are everywhere in Irvine.
The environmental benefits are well-documented; they clean our air, cool our climate and improve our health. According to American Forests, the oldest national conservation organization in the U.S., “a single tree can absorb 10 pounds of air pollutants a year and produce nearly 260 pounds of oxygen – enough to support two people.”
That means our Irvine trees are hard at work, removing approximately 5.6 million pounds of pollutants from our air each year and creating approximately 71,500 tons of oxygen each year.
These environmental benefits are surely one reason why WalletHub recently named Irvine the third greenest city in America.
Irvine’s focus on being green is one of the many reasons I love where I live, and I’ll continue to explore ways for my family and me to take it all in.
Community columnist Peggy Cheng has lived in Irvine for 17 years.
See The Difference
Irvine’s 550,000 trees bring significant environmental benefits to residents and differentiate the city from its neighbors.