Photo: Tulum locals coming together to clean up the road to the beach
Despite its natural beauty, Tulum is headed for ecological collapse. Unsustainable building and living practices are devastating the ecosystems, and threatening Tulum’s tourism economy.
Tulum’s people are also suffering. Because unsustainable practices have been going on for so long here and in other parts of Mexico, we think it’s normal for trash to pile up in the streets, plastic to wash up on the beach, and mounds of seaweed to accumulate for months.
This is harming not only Tulum’s environment but also affecting the people who live here or come to visit. We suffer from the same unfortunate conditions. None of us can drink the water. We are all subject to parasites, smell garbage, and bathe in water that may be polluted. We swim in tainted water in cenotes and at the beach. We suffer the same environmental degradation, disconnection from nature, and participation in an unsustainable economy that harms our beloved Tulum and therefore ourselves.
Doing something about it
These problems are becoming more obvious for everyone that has been visiting or living in Tulum for the past years as the development of Tulum has grown exponentially. Many concerned citizens and organizations in Tulum have made great efforts to bring solutions to many of these issues but not enough can be done without having the full support of the authorities, and money and corruption seem to be the law of the land. Furthermore, getting funding for these initiatives is challenging.
One of the noteworthy efforts is the Agenda Ciudadana Para El Desarrollo Sustentable De Tulum, an amazing initiative in which thousands of people in the Tulum community came together to identify the main areas of opportunity in Tulum and the solutions needed.
This included surveying Tulumenses about their priorities, engaging with experts, and developing a comprehensive plan and budget that addresses many areas of concern including environmental issues, which are seen as the main problem in Tulum.
Tulum’s problems are not only evident to its residents and visitors. With the change of route of the Mayan Train that was shifted from along the highway to now go over virgin jungle, cenotes, caves and the largest underground river system in the world, people all over the world are coming together to protect this unique system from being destroyed.
While it seems clear that the train could destroy aspects of the underwater system that is already stressed beyond its limit with Tulum’s entire sewage being dumped and landfill leachate infiltrating into the subsoil even without the influx of new visitors to Tulum with the celebrated Mayan Train.
What if this situation could be the great catalyst for the Tulum community to build a citizen-led system that generates wealth, creates jobs, and supports the regeneration of Tulum?
To support initiatives such as the Agenda Ciudadana and the efforts of different organizations to protect, preserve and regenerate Tulum, we can use emerging technologies like the blockchain, and in particular DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations).
Decentralized autonomous organizations
DAOs are web-native organizations that are run and managed by communities through transparent decision-making processes. Unlike traditional organizations, DAOs leverage blockchain technology to enable everyone in the community to have input in the key governance and resource management decisions — this is a practice known as community banking.
A benefit of DAOs is that they are transparent since all actions and funding in the DAO are on a public blockchain and viewable by anyone. This significantly reduces the risk of corruption.
DAOs can also value things that the existing economic paradigm does not value. Like not dumping sewage in the jungle, not leaking toxic liquids from landfills into the cenotes, and not running trains over cenotes.
Projects funded by DAOs can include community monitoring, intervention triggers, and contingency plans. This reduces the likelihood of resources being wasted because of ineffective management and increases the likelihood of effective interventions when problems occur.
DAO for regenerating Tulum
The next step for Tulum is to develop a DAO to protect and restore Tulum. The main objectives of the DAO could be ecosystem regeneration, cultural revitalization, and vibrant local economies. These three areas could be split into circles for each of the problem areas identified by Agenda Ciudadana composed of relevant experts, which would review and approve proposals to go to the full community. Thus, all community members could vote to allocate funding for regenerative projects in Tulum. The DAO would be an alliance between Regen Tulum, Agenda Ciudadana, the municipality, and all other organizations, hotels, businesses and citizens that want to regenerate Tulum.
In order to stop unsustainable practices and hold ourselves accountable, it’s going to take all of Tulum’s residents, businesses, organizations, and public agencies as well as tourists.
The Tulum DAO will give everyone a voice in making a better Tulum. Anyone can submit a proposal for a project to be reviewed and voted on by the community. Approved projects receive funds, support and resources. This is the perfect tool to create a sense of community and shared responsibility and accountability.
Written by Daveed Benjamin and Michelle Cuervo
Join us at Tribalize on Monday March 28th for Day of the DAO Join us on March 28th for a day about building online communities and DAOs as well as dinner conversation about the Regen Tulum directory, the Tulum DAO, and the TulumCoin Founders Club NFT.
Purchase tickets at: https://tribalize.life
$150 for the entire day and dinner evening program $75 for just the dinner evening program FREE with whitelist purchase of TulumCoin Founders Club NFT (see Whitelist Proof channel on Discord)
About Regen Tulum
Regen Tulum is a decentralized movement of people and organizations in Tulum and across the world to regenerate Tulum’s ecosystems, cultural heritage, and economy. Regen Tulum is launching NFT collections and TulumCoin, a community currency that sends 5% of withdrawal fees to fund regenerative projects. Regen Tulum was initiated to support decentralized public works that enables the community to vote on regenerative projects.