Regen Tulum is an experiment - the world's first decentralized public works platform - focused on regenerating Tulum. If it works here, it could be applied wherever there is an engaged community.
MISSION & HISTORY.
When Daveed Benjamin first visited Tulum in the mid-nineties it was a small fishing village. "I was mesmerized by the ruins; Tulum was the first place I ever felt the energy of a place." Since then, Tulum has become one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Home to miles of pristine beaches, exotic wildlife, and the world’s largest underground river system, people worldwide come to experience Mexico’s trendy, ecological haven.
However, the city’s ecosystem is being destroyed. Despite the claims of ‘eco’ and ‘environmentally friendly,’ there is a dark underbelly that is not being addressed. In fact, the state in which Tulum is located, Quintana Roo, creates more waste per capita than any other region in Mexico. The average Mexican resident produces one kilogram of garbage per day, while in Tulum and its surrounding area, residents produce an average of two-and-a-half to three kilograms everyday.
When Daveed first visited, there were just over 3,000 inhabitants, but now Tulum has a local population of around 37,000 and hosts more than two million tourists per year. The city has the highest population growth (5%) in all of Mexico, but is only designed to sustain only around 7,000 people.
Because of the lack of infrastructure, hotels dump their sewage directly into Tulum’s freshwater aquifer, and most are entirely powered by diesel generators. With no facilities to process the trash, the jungle just next to the city is now hosting a massive landfill that includes recyclables and compostable waste.
As Daveed discovered on his return to Tulum during the pandemic, Tulum has become a hotspot for development, but real estate companies in the city have failed to follow through on promises of sustainable practices. The lack of effective regulation has caused construction to spiral out of control, and this once sleepy village is quickly following the paths of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen — cities just north of Tulum that have both failed to preserve their environment.
Daveed and Mich Cuervo, a long time resident of Tulum and an outspoken advocate for the regeneration of Tulum formed Regen Tulum in mid 2021.