In my opinion government regulations are a reflection of social norms, not vice-verse. The reason that we have government regulations is that we, as a society, elect officials that will support our ideals and beliefs. These ideals and beliefs, in turn, are constructs of the culture in which we have been immersed and whose norms we adopt as part of our identities.
I think social norms have more to do with the actions individuals take part in than government regulations, and this is applicable to most areas of life and not just issues regarding the environment. One example is if you look at how the majority of people on the freeway are speeding with little regard to the speed limit, and people often just say their going with the flow of traffic, which would be considered as the social norm. For the most part, a majority of laws and regulations are made in accordance to social norms
Government regulations have more of an impact on human activity. A lot of the times, it is government regulation that influences social norms (ex: laws, ethics etc.) This doesn’t mean that people will stop destructive behavior because the government says not too. Still, government regulations have a lot of power over individuals, companies, agencies, and institutions.
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