Man cannot survive in the kind of state of nature that the ecologists
envision—i.e., on the level of sea urchins or polar bears.
In that sense, man is the weakest of animals: he is born naked and unarmed,
without fangs, claws, horns or “instinctual” knowledge. Physically, he would
fall an easy prey, not only to the higher animals, but also to the lowest
bacteria: he is the most complex organism and, in a contest of brute force,
extremely fragile and vulnerable. His only weapon—his basic means of
survival—is his mind.
In order to survive, man has to discover and produce everything he needs, which
means that he has to alter his background and adapt it to his needs. Nature
has not equipped him for adapting himself to his background in the manner of
animals. From the most primitive cultures to the most advanced civilizations,
man has had to manufacture things; his well-being depends on his success at
production. The lowest human tribe cannot survive without that alleged source
of pollution: fire. It is not merely symbolic that fire was the property of the
gods which Prometheus brought to man. The ecologists are the new vultures
swarming to extinguish that fire.