Who enforces?

When I give lectures about Green politics, I occasionally get asked about enforcement mechanisms. “Who’s going to enforce these changes?” they ask. I suspect that some of these folks expect me to talk about big intrusive governments coercing citizens into compliance with onerous environmental regulations. So they’re surprised when I say, “No one.”

What do I mean? Simple. No one needs to “enforce” these changes – nature will do it herself. If we continue to ignore her laws – by which I mean the natural laws of physics, chemistry, and biology – to act as though they don’t apply to us, then there will be inevitable consequences. We may have some choices about when we conform, and how – but noncompliance ultimately is not an option.

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