Due to a threat to beat me to the punch from my lovely hosts yesterday evening, I have to go ahead and disclose a travel mishap.

I learned the hard way that Amsterdam’s sustainability is not all that it is cracked up to be.  For a beautiful city whose citizens do what they can to temper their impact on the planet, their canals are Exhibit of A of what often goes awry.

Amsterdam’s citizens use the canals as a trash bin: the occasional shopping cart, bicycle locks and parts, beer bottles, and lordy, lordy who knows what else.  During the canal tour that my gracious hosts gave to me last evening, we threw in pistachio shells, so hey, we were part of the issue.

Well, during a split second that I beg to have back, but won’t ever regain, I lost my balance as I tried getting out of the boat and tumbled into the water.  Oh man, it was gross.  Eric and Vicky, who I met at the GRI Conference, were amazed at my reflexes.  But one of them also noted that all the trash in the water helped to trampoline me back out of the water in a split second.  We all had a good laugh.  What else do you do when you return your hosts’ hospitality with a dunk in a 400 year old canal?

The bruise on my leg is pretty bad: the searing of my ego was far worse.  The gawking of two Dutch traffic cops didn’t help matters.  A glass of wine and some broccoli soup later, and bundled in borrowed clothes, I was fine.

So for the tourists who have a bit too much fun in A’dam and feel a little leak won’t harm anything, I beg you: the waste disposal methods of the 17th century are past us:  think about those who have a problem with balance!

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.