A recurrent theme in this blog is personal productivity. Sometimes it also takes in with it environmental productivity, by which I mean a judicious use of the finite resources at our disposal to get around our place in the world.

This is something we can all do pretty well in the city, where the infrastructure is there to help us. It’s much harder to pull it off in those more sparsely populated areas.

A friend of mine that I work with from time to time has what I would call a slender footprint – in the sense of his carbon footprint rather than the mark his shoe leaves.

He lives in a city, in the nicest part in his city. Most of what he needs on the weekends is within a few minutes’ walk. When he’s working in the office, he has a 5-minute walk to the bus, a 20-minute bus ride into the centre, and a 5-minute walk to the office. A door-to-door commute of 30 minutes, where he can work for 20 of them, is just about perfect.

When he has to travel internationally for work, he can take the train or else a very affordable taxi to the airport. He has a car, but reckons he does no more than 1,000 miles a year in it, taken up by the occasional trip to the golf course or a trip to see the folks.

That’s what I call a slender footprint. Personal and environmental productivity at its finest.